WASHINGTON (JTA) — A number of Senate Republicans blocked Israel’s request of an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome anti-missile system during the current Gaza Strip conflict.
Republicans had initially objected to the inclusion of the request by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, in a $2.7 billion funding package to deal with an influx of undocumented arrivals at the border with Mexico.
When it became clear late Thursday, on the eve of the August congressional recess, that the border package would not pass, Reid removed from it the requests for Iron Dome and funding for fighting a recent scourge of wildfires in the western United States.
A number of GOP senators nonetheless resisted the package, demanding offsets in order not to increase the national debt.
Among the senators using parliamentary rules to block the funding were Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), Politico reported.
“Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack,” Reid said, according to Politico. “If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know anything that is.”
At least one Republican, according to Politico, was livid with his colleagues for blocking the Iron Dome funding request, which had been expedited by the Obama administration because of what Israel said were urgent repairs needed for the system.
“Any person who thinks that the Iron Dome is unnecessary needs to go to the floor and tell us why, why we don’t need to help Israel right now,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “They’re asking for our help, they’re our best friend in the region, one of our best friends in the world.”
Israel has said that the protective system has successfully blocked more than 80 percent of the incoming rockets it has targeted during the current conflict, launched July 8.