(Updates with House of Representatives passage, adds
WASHINGTON Aug 1 The U.S. Congress approved
$225 million in emergency funding for Israel's "Iron Dome"
missile defense system on Friday, sending the measure to
President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
The House of Representatives approved the funding by a 395-8
vote late on Friday, several hours after the Senate passed it
The money would be used to replenish Israel's arsenal of
Iron Dome interceptor missiles, many of which have been used to
shoot down short-range rockets fired from Gaza into populated
areas of Israel in the current three-week-long conflict.
An earlier version of the funding plan had failed on
Thursday when Senate Republicans blocked a broader spending bill
that was largely intended to provide money to handle the current
immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
But lawmakers in both chambers subsequently reached
agreements to pass the missile funding measure separately.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on whether Obama would sign the legislation. However,
several administration officials have made comments this week
praising the Iron Dome system.
Because it is being treated as emergency spending - similar
to that used by Congress to pay for wars and natural disaster
relief - the $225 million can simply be added to the U.S.
deficit. It does not need to be offset by other savings under
congressional budget rules.
Israel's Iron Dome missile interceptor system, which was
partly funded by the United States, has shot down most of the
rockets fired at its cities by militants in Gaza, providing much
greater protection for Israelis than during past conflicts.
The Iron Dome system is constructed by top Israeli defense
contractors Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries
and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It uses some components
made by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Co..
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and David Lawder; Additional
reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matt