US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans plan to introduce their own legislation that would provide additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile system, as the Zionist regime continues to massacre Palestinians in Gaza.
“Republicans are united in support of our ally Israel,” McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said on the Senate floor Thursday. “We can help Israel defend its civilian population against indiscriminate attacks.”
On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting $225 million in additional US funding for the Iron Dome missile system.
The money would be in addition to the $351 million that’s already under discussion for Iron Dome in fiscal 2015. It would bring total funding to $576 million, compared with the $176 million requested by the Pentagon for the year that begins on October 1.
"We have legislation that would allow Congress to meet the [Defense] Secretary’s request," McConnell said. "And we hope our friends on the other side will join us in coming to a sensible, bipartisan solution that can be passed quickly."
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski on Wednesday introduced an emergency spending bill that included funding for the border crisis, Israel’s Iron Dome system and wildfire relief. Republicans have pushed back against the border funding proposal.
In 2013, Congress allocated $235 million for the Iron Dome. And the Obama administration had requested about $176 million for the system for 2015, but the Senate panel doubled the amount.
A Congressional Research Service report in April said that the US had provided more than $700 million to Israel for Iron Dome. The latest bill would lift that to about $1 billion.
Israel already receives billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money each year. Under an existing 10-year aid agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv signed in 2007, $30 billion of American money is flowing to Israel.
The US annual military aid to Israel has been elevated from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion through 2017 under the existing agreement.
Meanwhile, US and Israeli officials have discussed a surge in US military aid to Israel in a new aid package that would extend through 2027.