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Israel Benefits As Congress Enhances Defense Spending

Israel is one of the beneficiaries of Republican plans to beef up America’s defense budget.

With defense one of the few areas in which Congress has moved to increase rather than decrease spending, lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have approved hundreds of millions of dollars for U.S.-Israel cooperative military programs.

Two Defense Department funding bills making their way through Congress include more than $35 million for the Arrow anti- missile. Congress has also agreed to spend tens of millions of dollars on the Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle and more than $38 million on the “Popeye” missile.

An additional $14 million is slated to be spent on upgraded armor for tanks. Under the proposal, Israel would also benefit from a pool of $6 million set aside for cooperative international counter terrorism programs.

The programs are included in the Senate’s $243 billion Defense Department appropriations bill as well as in its $265 billion Defense Department authorization bill. The appropriations bill, which actually spends the money, passed the Senate on Tuesday night in a 62-35 vote.

The authorization bill, which sets spending limits, passed the Senate on Wednesday 64-34.

The House has already passed similar Defense Department spending bills with similar provisions designated for such cooperative programs.

The measures will now go to a House and Senate conference committee to hammer out any differences. Congress will then send the legislation to President Clinton, who is expected to sign.

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