House subcommittee pushes for funding boosts for U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs

The House’s Defense Appropriations subcommittee proposed significant funding increases for U.S.-Israel cooperative counter-drone and counter-tunneling programs

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Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 17, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

The House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee proposed funding increases for cooperative U.S.-Israel anti-tunneling and anti-drone and missile programs in its 2025 funding bill released on Tuesday. The defense bill also seeks to force frozen Israeli weapons transfers to proceed.

Committee Republicans are pushing for $80 million for U.S.-Israel counter-tunneling programs, nearly doubling the 2024 allocation, and $55 million for counter-drone and missile programs, including directed energy and laser projects. That would likely include Israel’s Iron Beam system. The Defense Subcommittee voted to advance the bill to the full Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

The counter-tunneling program was funded at $47.5 million for the 2024 fiscal year, while the counter-drone program received $40 million. The administration did not make specific line-item requests for either program in its budget proposal.

In a stand-alone bill introduced earlier this year, bipartisan lawmakers introduced legislation pushing for $80 million for the anti-tunneling program for next year.

The bill would also bar the Pentagon from withholding any military transfers to Israel, and includes language that would require that any withheld weapons or defense services be transferred to Israel within 15 days. It would additionally require the Pentagon to obligate any outstanding funds for Israel within 30 days.

The State Department Appropriations bill released on Monday threatens funding to other areas of the State Department if the administration ignores these provisions; the defense bill contains no such compulsory mechanisms.

At the same time, the bill would provide no additional funding for Ukraine, highlighting the divisiveness of that issue among Republicans; the administration had requested an additional $300 million.

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