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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Congress to defy Obama on missile defense spending?

Congressional sources have told the Jerusalem Post that Congress is more than willing to make up President Obama's cuts in spending for Israel's missile defense program - and then some.
The cut to the US-Israel cooperative programs has provoked criticism from some quarters.

“For an administration that tried to claim that it’s the best for Israel’s security, cutting critical funds for missile defense at a time when the threat from Iran has never been greater is extremely dangerous, worrisome and reckless,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

But Democrats on Capitol Hill defended the reduced missile defense funding as part of the Obama administration’s effort to rein in overall spending by the Pentagon, whose budget would be slashed by $487 billion across 10 years under Obama’s plan.

“It has nothing to do with the Israeli missile defense program and everything to do with curbing the defense budget in every way possible,” said one aide to a Democratic member on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

He said Congress would be increasing the missile defense aid once it reviews the budget and determines its own funding levels. The administration budget serves as a blueprint, but it is Congress’s version that is voted on and signed into law.

“Funding for US-Israel missile defense will continue to rise despite the budget request,” he said.

Though the administration’s request for missile defense monies has dropped somewhat in recent years – from $121.7m. in 2011 to $106.1m. in 2012 to 2013’s $99.8m. – during each of those cycles, Congress has consistently increased the final allocation.

The aide predicted the 2013 figure would be in the neighborhood of the record $235.6m. slated for 2012, meaning Congress would be adding at least $100 million to the current figure.
And of course, President Obama will then turn around and tell us how 'his' aid to Israel for missile defense shows how Israel and the US are cooperating 'better than ever' under his administration. What could go wrong?

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