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For 4th time, Republican senator blocks passage of Iron Dome funding bill

Rand Paul insisting that $1b in supplemental aid for missile defense system come out of US assistance to Afghanistan; could delay bill’s passage until at least February

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with reporters as he walks on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with reporters as he walks on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Republican Senator Rand Paul blocked a fourth consecutive request by Democrats Wednesday to pass legislation granting $1 billion in supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

As he has argued the previous time he blocked the unanimous consent measure in the past two months, Paul insisted that the funding come out of the $6 billion in proposed US assistance to Afghanistan.

Democrats came under fire from pro-Israel groups in early October after House leadership briefly delayed a vote on the bill amid opposition from a handful of progressive members. However, the funding went on to pass overwhelmingly 420-9-2, moving to the Senate, where it has since been held up by Paul.

The Iron Dome funding bill is still certain to pass, but it will likely require a floor vote, as it did in the House. A Senate source told Jewish Insider that may have to wait until February, when the legislation can be added to the omnibus spending package.

Once the bill is approved by the Senate, it will be brought to US President Joe Biden for his signature. The president has already vowed to approve the funding.

Israel made a request for the extra funds after the Iron Dome worked on overdrive during May’s Gaza war, when Hamas fired some 4,400 rockets at Israeli towns, according to the IDF.

Rockets from Gaza, on right, are seen in the night sky fired toward Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Iron Dome interceptor missiles, on left, rise to meet them. (Anas Baba/AFP)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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