The Senate on Friday quickly approved legislation providing $225 million in funding to support Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system.
On Thursday, the Senate tried but failed to pass this funding, which got caught up in a fight over trying to pass an emergency funding bill for the southern U.S. border. But Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quickly agreed to pass it in a unanimous consent vote.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked Congress in July to approve the funding package in the face of increased attacks by Hamas from Gaza. Israel has sustained rocket fire and attacks from tunnels between Gaza and Israel for the last few weeks — a tentative cease fire that was slated to take effect Friday morning fell apart, which led White House officials to criticize Hamas.
The funding resolution was amended with language from Reid, McConnell and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
“The Iron Dome missile defense system has played a critical role in defending Israel’s population from rocket attacks launched by Hamas from within the Gaza Strip,” McConnell said. “The Iron Dome system will remain essential to Israel’s security until a cease fire is achieved, and it will remain vital afterwards as well, because this defensive system helps blunt the impact of one of Hamas’ preferred tools of terror.”
“By 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,” he added.
Senate passage sends the resolution to the House, which could have an opportunity to pass the bill later Friday. Members of the House are expected to work on the floor for most of the day to pass border legislation.