JTA World News Service
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Senate unanimously approved new funds to Israel for its Iron Dome anti-missile system after Republicans and Democrats settled differences over how to pass the bill.
The emergency supplemental bill passed Friday adds $225 million to $350 million for the system, which Israel has credited with hitting over 80 percent of the Gaza-launched rockets it has targeted since the July 8 launch of the latest Israel-Hamas conflict.
Democrats and Republicans had tussled over how best to approve the funding, which had broad bipartisan support.
The majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had at first attached it to a $2.7 billion bill for funds to deal with the influx of undocumented arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Republicans accused him of playing politics, and Reid on Thursday night stripped the Iron Dome funding out of the borders bill and advanced the Iron Dome funding, along with funding for fighting a recent scourge of wildfires in western states, as a standalone item.
That strategy had the backing of some GOP senators, but a number of others used parliamentary procedures to stop that bill, saying they wanted to balance the spending with cuts in other areas.
It appeared Thursday night that the funding would not be approved before the August recess starting Aug. 1, but congressional leaders extended the current session to deal with a welter of outstanding bills, and on Friday, the $225 million was approved by unanimous consent.
Sponsoring the bill were Reid, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee who had originally championed the funding.
“Passing this bipartisan measure, we send a message to Hamas that its terrorist tactics and its attempts to terrorize Israel’s populace will not succeed,” McConnell said in a statement.