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Congressional Partisanship May Delay Funding for Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System

The $225 million in the supplemental, which has been requested by Israel, would be in addition to that fiscal 2015 funding. If the two pending additional tranches of spending were enacted, they would bring to $1.28 billion the total of U.S. appropriations for the system.

The White House did not include the Iron Dome spending in its request for the supplemental. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel supports the appropriation.

“The government of Israel has requested $225 million in additional U.S. funding for Iron Dome to accelerate production of Iron Dome components in Israel in order to maintain adequate stockpiles,” Hagel recently wrote to congressional leaders. “The Department of Defense has reviewed and supports this urgent request.”

Given the urgent need for the missile defenses, Hagel also requested Congress not hold the supplemental spending to the terms of an agreement in March that would require more work on the Iron Dome program be done in the United States. The vast majority of the work on the program has been done in Israel.

“Israel will continue to develop co-production of Iron Dome components in the United States” per the March agreement, Hagel wrote. “However, Israel assesses that it will take another two to three years to reach full production capacity in the United States, which would not address Israel’s current shortfall.”

Lawmakers have long felt the United States needs to play more of a role in — and see benefits from — the Iron Dome program. Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co. would benefit most from domestic Iron Dome production.

Most recently, Senate appropriators included language in their report on the defense spending bill that would hold back half of the fiscal 2015 funding for Iron Dome until the Israeli Missile Defense Organization provides more information on the program, including a report documenting the transfer from Israeli industry to U.S. companies of all technical data packages required for U.S. production of Iron Dome.

In their version of the supplemental, Senate Democrats would provide some relief from that agreement, but it is unclear how lawmakers would handle the issue in any sort of a compromise measure.

Tamar Hallerman and Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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