Last week, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA), which authorizes and encourages President Obama to provide funds for the “procurement, maintenance and sustainment” of more of the anti-missile defense systems, should the Israeli government request it. It has received bi-partisan support, having been co-sponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), along with Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).
The IDSA seeks to secure financing of 10 more Iron Dome batteries, but does not delve into figures. The cost of one Iron Dome battery is $50 million, while each missile costs between $70,000-$100,000. Israel’s fourth iron dome is expected to become operational next week.
Berman said in a statement that ”Israel must have the ability to defend itself from rocket and missile attacks, and the United States will continue to stand by our strong ally if called upon in times of need.” He added that during this most recent round of hostilities “the Iron Dome saved innocent lives and prevented an escalation of hostilities and a full-blown crisis.”
The flurry of activity was actually inspired by an op-ed on the Politico website by Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, in which he wrote that “at least ten Iron Dome systems will be necessary in order to defend the whole country – for Israel, and for America as well, an investment in Iron Dome is an investment in diplomacy that helps create a conditions for peace.”
Soon after reading the op-ed on Wednesday, Reps. Berman and Ros-Lehtinen introduced the IDSA.
During the 2011 fiscal year, Congress approved $205 million in funding for the anti-missile system.