U.S. State Dept says shutdown could hit military funding for Israel

WASHINGTON Wed Oct 2, 2013 3:39pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prolonged U.S. federal government shutdown could delay military assistance to Israel and other American allies, the State Department said on Wednesday.

"The State Department's ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a news briefing.

Harf gave only the specific example of Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military funding and a country which enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.

The Obama administration had requested $3.1 billion for Israel for the 2014 fiscal year that began on October 1, the day U.S. political stalemate forced a partial shutdown of government. In 2007, the two countries agreed on a 10-year, $30-billion military aid package covering the 2009-18 fiscal years.

Total U.S. foreign military funding was about $5.5 billion for more than 80 countries in 2011, according to State Department data.

Harf said the State Department had not had to furlough any staff as a result of the government shutdown and visa and passport offices which run on fees remained open.

"While there are no furloughs, it's not just business as usual," she said. "And there are programs certainly that are affected, and which all could be up and running again if Congress could get some business done."

Offices at the State Department that have been closed as a result of the shutdown include the Office of the Inspector General and the International Boundary and Water Commission, Harf said.

(Reporting by Paul Eckert; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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Comments (3)
EastBerlin wrote:
Do we, the people of the USA really need to give $3.1 billion to Israel??? What about Keeping ALL of our money here and getting ourselves out of the poor house.

Oct 03, 2013 11:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PaulBradley wrote:
Israel gets $3.1 billion out of a total of $5.5 billion allocated for 80 countries??????????????????????????????????????? Leaving average of approximately only $30.4 million for each of the remaining 79 countries.

For better understanding – - Israel gets $3,100 million (three thousand one hundred millions) vs. other country average $34 million (thirty four million).

What do we get back from Israel for this preferential financial treatment again????????????????????? My guess = $0.00

Oct 03, 2013 5:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PaulBradley wrote:
P.S. (to my previous post) That’s approximately $517.00 for each of the approximately 6 million Israeli citizens living in Israel. – - WOW

Oct 03, 2013 5:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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