House members seek added funding for U.S.-Israel missile defense systems

 Two House members requested additional funding for joint United States and Israel missile defense systems.

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, and Rep. Grace Meng (D- N.Y.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, requested $41.4 million for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, $286.9 million for the David’s Sling weapons system and $146 million for the Arrow weapons system.

“These programs are essential to the safety and security of our ally Israel,” Roskam and Meng wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

“Our requested funding levels for the upcoming year seek to address the evolving threats posed by Israeli adversaries, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran – all of which are developing more advanced, short-, medium- and long-range rocket and missile capabilities.”

U.S. aims to support Israeli defense systems despite budget cuts

New U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday, expressing strong support for Israeli missile and rocket defense systems despite fiscal uncertainty caused by across-the-board spending cuts.

“Secretary Hagel is committed to working with members of Congress to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome, Arrow, and David's Sling rocket and missile defense systems,” a U.S. defense official said.

Hagel's nearly two-hour-long talks with Israel's Ehud Barak represented his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign counterpart since he took over the Pentagon on Feb. 27.

Reporting by Phil Stewart