Rand Paul blocks quick vote on House-passed $1B Iron Dome funding

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday blocked a quick vote on a House-passed bill to provide $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J) tried to set up an expedited vote, with only two hours of debate on the bill instead of the days-long floor process. 

“There is no conceivable reason why anyone in this chamber, on either side of the aisle, should stand in the way of U.S. support for this lifesaving defense to be fully ready for the next attack,” Menendez said. 

“I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join the House of Representatives in passing this funding on a broadly bipartisan effort,” Menendez added. 

In the Senate any one senator can try to schedule a vote or pass a bill, but any one senator can also block that request. 

The House passed the Iron Dome funding last month after Democratic leadership removed it from a short-term government funding package in order to try to accommodate concerns from progressives and prevent potential defections. 

Paul tried to alter the House-passed bill to rescind $6 billion in Afghanistan reconstruction funds, with $1 billion being used to cover the Iron Dome funding and the rest being sent back to the Treasury. He argued that the Afghanistan money could otherwise go to the Taliban. 

“I support Israel. I voted for hundreds of millions of dollars to support Iron Dome. I am glad the United States has a strong bond with Israel. But the United States cannot give money it does not have, no matter how strong our relationship is,” Paul said. 

Menendez, however, blocked his attempt to alter the House bill and Paul, in turn, rejected Menendez’s attempt to set up a quick vote. 

Paul’s amendment, Menendez said, was “problematic.” 

“This amendment ultimately proposes to rescind funds from the Departments of State and Defense, and this amendment would not reallocate funds that would allegedly go to the Taliban,” Menendez said. “The reality is that U.S. dollars are not going to the Taliban, nor will they.” 

Paul blamed Democrats for holding up the Iron Dome funding, saying that they’ve offered to rescind less than $6 billion or to rescind a different pot of money. 

“We’ve offered a basically open invitation to the other side that we think it ought to be paid for. So the objection from the other side is to paying for Iron Dome,” he said 

Tags Iron Dome Rand Paul Robert Menendez
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