There is one thing that can always be depended upon in US politics. When a US president asks Congress to give some money to Israel, Congress always gives them everything requested and a bit more. This year, with tensions between the White House and Israel’s far-right government rising, the old trend is being taking to an extreme.
In the FY2017 military spending package, President Obama had sought $103.835 million for Israel’s missile defense program, an annual outlay that the White House has been trying to get into the overall Israel aid package, but which Israel keeps insisting remains independent.
The new House appropriations measure went above and beyond in trumping the Obama request, setting aside $635.7 million, over six times the amount sought, for the Israeli missile defense program. The huge over-budget, along with a lot of the money coming from the House putting funds to US missile defense systems, have the White House threatening a veto.
In practice this is just going to be another source of fighting over the annual military spending bill, and one of many, though administration officials have suggested that they are likely to abandon their objection so long as the package is tied to an Israeli memorandum of understanding on the next decade-long aid package, which the White House promises will be record-sized, but which Israel has so far refused to accept.
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