US Budget Winners: Israel, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics. Losers: Hungry Women, Infants and Children
December 15, 2014
PressTV & Citizens for a Legitimate Government & CSPAN2 & Roxana Tiron / Bloomberg
The US House passed a $577.1 billion measure rejecting Defense Department efforts to cut military costs. The new total includes about $495.9 billion in base discretionary spending, $63.7 billion for overseas contingency operations, and $17.5 billion for the defense activities of the Department of Energy and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The Senate has approved a military spending bill that includes $350 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile system.
US to Give Israel $350 Million for Iron Dome
(December 13, 2014) -- The US Senate has approved a multi-billion-dollar military spending bill that includes $350 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile system. The Senate passed the bill on Friday by a 89-11 vote. The bill was sent to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.
The 2015 defense authorization bill also authorized $521.3 billion for Defense Department operations, and about $64 billion for overseas military operations. The House of Representatives last week approved the National Defense Authorization Act by a 300-119 vote.
Five billion dollars are allocated for the fight against the ISIL terrorist group. The money should be spent for the training and arming of the so-called moderate rebels in Syria for two years and for the training and assisting of Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
Earlier this month, US Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Obama administration had provided Israel with more than $17 billion in military aid since 2008. In November, the US Department of Defense announced plans to arm Israel with 3,000 smart bombs as part of Washington's military aid to Tel Aviv. The United States provides Israel with some $8.5 million in military aid per day, adding up to over $3 billion annually.
$1.1Trillion Spending Bill Passes Senate,
Heads to Obama's Desk: Israel to Get $350 Million for Iron Dome
Citizens for a Legitimate Government
(December 14, 2014) -- After days of rancor and uncertainty on Capitol Hill, the Senate has passed a massive spending bill, formally averting a government shutdown and sending the $1.1 trillion measure to the president's desk. The vote, which pitted both parties' establishment against its more populist wings, was 56-40. Twenty-one Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against the measure.
The bill funds most of the government until September 2015, although it sets up another battle over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security early next year.
While Israel is set to receive $350 million for its Iron Dome missile system, the budget cuts $93 million from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program.
US Taxpayers Gave $225 Million to Israel for Iron Dome in July 2014
WASHINGTON (July 31, 2014) -- The Senate resumed debate on a $3.6 billion emergency supplemental spending bill, which included $2.7 billion to deal with southern border issues, $225 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile, and $615 million to fight wildfires in western states.
US Is Being Hollowed Out to Support Israel's War Machine
(July 19, 2014) -- An American anti-war activist says the United States is being "hollowed out" to support Israel's growing war machine that is "metastasizing all over the world." Bruce Gagnon, a peace activist with the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, from Bath, Maine, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday.
"Right now the taxpayers in the US are sending Israel more than $3 billion dollars every year, that money is going to build the offensive Israeli military, and a part of it is also used to build the separation wall, that is basically blocking Palestinians from their own agricultural lands, blocking them from being able to reach other Palestinian communities to get to jobs," Gagnon said.
"So the US is really assisting in a huge way this apartheid system in Israel. Most American people don't know about this because the media in the United Sates is really controlled and restricted by the corporate agenda and by the Israeli lobby," he added.
"And most members of Congress don't talk about this because of the power of the Israeli lobby, but slowly -- slowly, slowly over the years -- there's a loosening-up and a growing support for the Palestinian people as more and more people do see the images of the slaughter of the Palestinians by the Israeli government," Gagnon continued.
"I think, the people are slowly beginning to wake up in our country but there's a long way to go," the peace activist noted. "Sadly, we can't afford to be sending Israel $3 billion dollars a year because our schools are closing, teachers are being laid off, people still can't afford to get healthcare in a good way, our environment needs so much work, we're facing the coming reality of the climate change.
And there's no money for any of this back here in the United States as our country is being hollowed out to support this growing military machine that's metastasizing all over the world, supporting corporate globalization," he concluded.
On Tuesday, a US Senate panel approved a measure that would double the funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile system amid Tel Aviv's new wave of aggression against Palestinians. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded, including women and children, by the Israeli offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip.
In response to the attack, Palestinian resistance fighters are firing rockets into Israeli cities. The Iron Dome has reportedly shot down most of the rockets fired from Gaza. The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a spending bill that would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome. Israel already receives billions of dollars of American taxpayers' money each year.
Under an existing 10-year aid agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv signed in 2007, $30 billion of American money is flowing to Israel.
The US annual military aid to Israel has been elevated from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion through 2017 under the existing agreement. Meanwhile, US and Israeli officials have discussed a surge in US military aid to Israel in a new aid package that would extend through 2027.
House Passes $577.1 Billion Defense Policy Bill, Spurning Cuts
Roxana Tiron / Bloomberg
(December 4, 2014) -- The US House passed a $577.1 billion measure rejecting Defense Department efforts to cut military costs. The legislation would let the A-10 aircraft of the Cold War era keep flying and continue purchases of radar-jamming jets made by Boeing Co. (BA)
The bill passed the House today, 300-119, without any changes. The Senate probably will follow suit next week. The annual defense policy bill sets military policy and spending targets for fiscal 2015, which started Oct. 1.
While laws covering many other parts of the government routinely are allowed to lapse because of disagreements or disinterest, a defense authorization has been enacted for 52 consecutive years, a record lawmakers cite as a sign of bipartisan support for the military and the sacrifices made by American forces worldwide.
"Right now, they are walking patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon said today in a floor speech. "They are at sea within missile range of Iran. They are flying wingtip-to-wingtip against Russia bombers over the North Sea. They are nose-to-nose with the North Koreans. They are sweating in the equatorial heat of Africa, fighting a horrible disease."
The legislation would authorize $577.1 billion in budget authority for national defense programs, down from $625.1 billion in the previous year, reflecting continued reductions in core defense spending and a decline in funds dedicated to the war in Afghanistan.
The new total includes about $495.9 billion in base discretionary spending, $63.7 billion for overseas contingency operations, and $17.5 billion for the defense activities of the Department of Energy and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
On issues related to U.S. foreign policy, the measure would authorize the training of moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State terrorists, extend a ban on closing the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and bar the purchase of Russian rocket engines not already under contract for national-security space launches.
The measure would prohibit the retirement of the A-10 close air support plane and ban another round of military base closings, rejecting two of the Pentagon's cost-cutting proposals.
Congressional negotiators granted part of the Defense Department's request for help in slowing the growth of health-care spending: The bill would increase out-of-pocket costs for pharmacy co-payments under the Tricare military health system.
The plan's beneficiaries who aren't on active duty would see a one-time increase of $3 for pharmacy co-payments for retail prescriptions and mail-order non-generic prescriptions.
The bill would keep the A-10 aircraft flying in 2015. The Air Force pressured Congress to retire the "Warthog" fleet to save more than $4 billion over five years, a move opposed by several generations of combat veterans who say it provides close-air protection more advanced aircraft can't duplicate.
The measure would let the Pentagon place as many as 36 aircraft into a reduced operating posture. The exception requires a Pentagon cost assessment and evaluation study and a certification by the secretary of defense.
The Government Accountability office also is assigned to review the A-10 program, congressional aides said. The bill would authorize an additional $331 million from the base budget to operate the A-10 fleet, according to a committee fact sheet.
The legislation rejects the Army's proposal to begin moving all eight battalions of Army National Guard AH-64 Apache helicopters to the active-duty Army.
The negotiators agreed to prohibit any transfer of Apaches in fiscal 2015. Their agreement would let personnel-related preparation activities and planning go ahead.
It would allow the Army to transfer as many as 48 aircraft in fiscal 2016, essentially permitting a restructuring to begin then. Negotiators also agreed to create a National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army, which would report back to Congress by Feb. 1, 2016.
Industry winners in the bill include Waltham, Massachusetts- based Raytheon Co.Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), which produces F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes.
The Pentagon asked Congress for the money to buy 100 Tomahawks, which played a high-profile role in the military intervention in Libya. The compromise would authorize $82 million for an additional 96 missiles for a total of $276.3 million.
The measure also would permit an additional $450 million to be spent this year for five EA-18G Growler aircraft.
While the Pentagon didn't seek money for the planes, Navy officials told Congress that buying more Growlers topped their wish list for items that didn't make the budget request.
Lockheed would see the Pentagon's full budget request approved for its F-35s, the costliest U.S. weapons system.
The bill would authorize $350 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, which includes a $175 million increase over the budget request that was sought by Israel.
It would require that the funds be used according to a U.S.-Israel agreement on co-production mandating that 55 percent of parts and components be made in the US Iron Dome is now built in Israel by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
The measure also adds $120 million for upgrades of General Dynamics Corp. (GD)'s Abrams battle tanks. BAE System Plc (BA/)'s Bradley Fighting Vehicle program would be boosted by $37 million for a total of $144.5 million.
The measure would prod the Pentagon to transition from the use of Russian rocket engines to a domestic alternative for national security space launches. It would authorize $220 million for the development of a US propulsion system by 2019 and prohibit the secretary of defense from buying launch services using Russian rocket engines other than those already under contract as of February 1, 2014.
United Launch Alliance LLC, the venture of Boeing and Lockheed that propels the satellites into space, has said it has a two-year supply of the engines and is seeking to stockpile more because a U.S.-built replacement isn't scheduled for flight certification until 2019. Lawmakers have questioned the reliability of Russian supplies amid the conflict over its intervention in Ukraine.
The bill would maintain a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers. It would authorize about $800 million for the refueling and overhaul of the USS George Washington, for which the Pentagon requested no money.
The measure also would allow as much as $800 million to be spent for one additional LPD-17 class amphibious ship, which is built by Newport News, Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII) The bill directs the Navy to modernize two cruisers in 2015 and would let the service reduce the crew size while cruisers are undergoing work.
The Navy had proposed to sideline 11 Ticonderoga-class cruisers, at a projected savings of about $4 billion over five years, with plans to upgrade the ships in the future.
Approval of the measure is needed to extend the Pentagon's authority to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State.
The measure would provide two-year authority to reprogram funds to carry out the Syria train-and-equip program. The language reflects the authority that was included in a stopgap funding bill earlier this year.
Negotiators also sought to strengthen provisions for the prevention of sexual assault in the military. Some of the changes include the elimination of the "good soldier defense," the consideration of general military character toward the probability of innocence in sexual-assault prosecutions. Victims would also be consulted as to their preference for prosecuting offenders by court-martial or through civilian channels.
Because the congressional session is almost over and this is viewed as a must-past bill, congressional leaders tacked on some unrelated provisions, including land transfers and a go-ahead to London-based Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and BHP Billiton Ltd (BLT) to develop North America's largest copper mine in southeast Arizona on land now owned by the federal government.
Some opponents of that provision had asked to be allowed to vote on stripping it out. They were turned down.
The legislation came to the House floor as an amendment to H.R. 3979. The measure is being named "the Carl Levin and Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015." Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and McKeon, a California Republican, are retiring.
To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
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