The Senate ended its session today before scampering home by (in effect) transferring a quarter billion dollars from unemployed Americans to Israel instead, so the nuclear-armed Superpower of the Middle East could improve its air defense system.
Divided on other issues, U.S. lawmakers united in support of Israel on Friday with the Senate approving another $225 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system.Here's McCain, who voted against a three month extension of benefits to the long-term unemployed, reasoning it out for us:
The House could take up the measure later Friday.
Senate approval came as the chamber wrapped up work before going on its five-week summer recess.
"We could not go out for a month or five weeks and not act to help the Israelis replenish their supply of Iron Dome missiles," GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters.The rationale for not extending benefits to the unemployed has always been the same--it can't be paid for, it will swell the deficit. Here is McCain's spokesman on why his boss refused to grant an extension of benefits to the unemployed:
Afterward, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said McCain voted against allowing the bill to proceed because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., refused to allow any amendments that would have provided alternative ways to pay for the benefits.But apparently we must understand, in a moment of crisis such as this, concerns about blowing up the budget deficit, or "finding other ways to pay" must be cast aside entirely. Indeed, the entire Senate agrees:
On Thursday night, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma blocked the Iron Dome funding requested by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel because it would add to the budget deficit.The measure passed with unanimous consent, because Israel is in a critical moment. The situation facing the long term unemployed in this country--losing their homes, losing their medical care, their futures, etc., is considerably less critical.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina then spoke to Coburn -- a notorious fiscal conservative -- about the critical moment facing Israel, Graham said, adding that "to his credit, he let it go."
According to McCain, Israel cannot possibly defend itself without more missiles to replenish its "Iron Dome" defenses:
“We are with the Israelis, because if they don’t have the Iron Dome, they can’t defend themselves,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday.Israel "cannot possibly defend itself?" Has McCain turned on the television lately? Does Israel really look like a country that "can't defend itself?" The Iron Dome system has already cost us over a billion dollars. Israel has a 300 Billion Dollar GDP. Whatever your feelings towards our perpetual funding of Israel's defense, where is the similar concern about the impact of unemployment on our own citizens? Shouldn't that be the chief priority of the U.S. Senate? Before it goes on a five-week vacation?
If the "Iron Dome" is defunded, if Israel doesn't get its full quota of missiles, will Israel fall? No, they'll go in and level Gaza with artillery, tanks and air power. There won't be a single rocket fired from Gaza after 72 hours. That might be a little messy but that's war. Maybe it might inspire both sides to think about peace, God forbid.
The real reason why the U.S. Senate cares more about Israel than it cares about Americans is pretty obvious:
Supporting Israel is a political necessity for many U.S. legislators, especially with congressional elections coming in November.Supporting jobless Americans in their efforts to find work? Meh, not so much a political necessity.
When the U.S. Congress reflexively opens its financial spigots for a foreign nation instead of taking care of our own people who are suffering, that is more than just wrong. It's a disgrace.