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Iron Dome battery 370.(Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem)
US house panel adds $680m. for Iron Dome
The money now slated for Iron Dome as part of the 2013 budget far exceeds any past US expenditures for the program.
WASHINGTON – A US House subcommittee voted Thursday to dedicate an additional $680 million in funding for Israel’s short-range missile defense system.

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 2010.

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 funding.

“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.
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