WASHINGTON – A US House subcommittee voted Thursday to dedicate an additional
$680 million in funding for Israel’s short-range missile defense
The move by a House Armed Services subcommittee adds the funding
for the Iron Dome program on top of nearly $100m. in US assistance for medium-
and long-range missile defense and $3.1 billion in other military assistance
that comes from the State Department budget.
The money now slated for
Iron Dome as part of the 2013 budget far exceeds any past US expenditures for
the program, with the previous highest allocation of $205m. made in
The Obama administration’s original 2013 Pentagon budget proposal
contained no Iron Dome money, but a Pentagon spokesman said soon after its
unveiling that the administration wanted to include funding for the project,
though no amount was specified. The $205m. allocation was also added later in
the budgeting process.
“Iron Dome is a game changer, saving innocent
lives and protecting Israelis,” Rep. Howard Berman (D-California), the House
Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member, said in backing the new
“Securing additional funding to deploy additional Iron Dome
batteries is an Israeli necessity, an American priority and a strategic
imperative.” The Pentagon budget also trims by some $6m. the funding for
Israel’s other missile defense programs, a reduction that was seized on by
Republicans earlier in the year.
Support for the $680m. Iron Dome boost
is bipartisan, and comes at a time when both parties have called for heavy
budget cuts. In all, the administration’s budget makes defense cuts that amount
to nearly half a trillion dollars across 10 years.
The Iron Dome money
still needs to be approved by the full House Armed Services Committee in May and
then the full House and Senate before being sent to the White House for the
president’s signature, a contentious process that faces additional obstacles in an election year.