Republican senator obstructs US funding for Israel’s Iron Dome – again

“I’ve consistently opposed spending outside of the budget unless it’s offset by spending cuts elsewhere,” the Republican senator said.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Not for the first time, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked U.S. funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense missile.

The vote, which took place on Wednesday, was in response to a request by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for unanimous consent for the bill.

“The Senate must pass HR 5323 as quickly as possible,” Blumenthal urged. “Iron Dome has widespread bipartisan support in Congress.”

“In total, 4,400 rockets were launched by Hamas,” he said, referring to the barrage of rockets launched by Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups into Israel last May.

“If the Iron Dome had failed, countless Israeli civilians would have been killed,” he stressed. “The system performed exceptionally well, and it showed its necessity for both humanitarian and strategic defensive purposes.

“I’m very concerned that one of my colleagues previously blocked the passage of this bill in the Senate,” he added.

Paul responded with his concerns over financing.

“I’ve consistently opposed spending outside of the budget unless it’s offset by spending cuts elsewhere,” he said. It’s not only an opinion that I hold. It’s actually the law. It’s called pay as you go. We passed the law many years ago to try to balance our books by having people come forward with things that sound good, want to spend it, but not offset it by spending cuts elsewhere.”

“There’s no question that the US has been a very good ally of Israel,” he said, suggesting that the costs be offset by withdrawing funding from “our enemy.”

“I’ll vote for the extra billion dollars. And that’s what I will propose today, but it should be offset with spending cuts elsewhere,” he said. There’s a $3 billion fund that is left over from money we were giving to the Afghan national government. There is no Afghan national government. The Taliban have taken over…

Why wouldn’t it be a good thing to take money that might go to our enemy and actually give it to our ally? It makes perfect sense.”

Blumenthal replied that “no fund, none, zero will be used to help or support or enable in any way the Taliban.”

Several pro-Israel organizations immediately blasted Paul, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and the American Jewish Committee.

Paul’s “continued delay of Iron Dome funding undermines Israel’s security, risks innocent lives, makes war more likely, and emboldens Iran-backed terrorists,” AIPAC tweeted.

Paul “once again blocked U.S. support for Israel’s Iron Dome. Kentucky is a pro-Israel state. Paul’s obstructionism contradicts the will of his constituents, imperils civilians in the region and undermines American and Israeli security interests,” the CUFI action fund stated.

“The House passed the bill overwhelmingly 83 days ago, and Senate Democrats unanimously support its passage. The one thing standing in its way is complete Republican apathy toward the intransigence of Senator Rand Paul,” declared Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.