The Senate unanimously passed an additional $225 million in emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system Friday, after refusing to do so just hours earlier out of concern that the money hadn’t been offset by spending cuts.
Passage appeared directly related to the almost immediate breakdown of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip that was to begin Friday morning.
“This action by the Senate . . . in bipartisan fashion could not come at a better time,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said after the vote. “We could not get it through last night. . . . The message today from the U.S. Senate . . . was sent. Not only are we going to give you more missiles, we’re going to be a better friend.”
Graham called the cease-fire failure, after a Hamas suicide bomber allegedly killed two Israeli soldiers and a third soldier was kidnapped, “a turning point in this war. America needs to be firmly in the Israeli camp.”
The House plans to approve a similar measure later in the day, senior GOP aides said Friday. The vote might be held by unanimous consent, said the aides, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the plans.
The complicated politics of the House might make quick passage difficult. Fiscally conservative Republicans are generally opposed to approving emergency spending without subsequent spending cuts, and at least some liberal Democrats might also object to providing emergency funding to the Israeli government amid civilian casualties in Gaza.
After the measure was rejected in the Senate Thursday, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) excoriated Republicans for objecting to emergency aid to a close ally. Again on Friday, Reid frequently referred to “that tiny country,” Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East and an ally in desperate need of support.