House OKs Heck defense amendment to help Israel

WASHINGTON — U.S. firms would be given a role in manufacturing rocket defenses for Israel under a Nevada lawmaker’s amendment the House approved on Tuesday.

By voice vote, lawmakers shifted $15 million in additional spending for Israel’s Iron Dome short range missile defense program.

The money would be used to open a U.S. production line for the missile interceptors that have been used in Israel’s defense of strikes from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Sponsoring Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said the amendment would help drum up business for defense contractors as the U.S. military downsizes.

He added Israeli officials have spoken of the need to increase its missile batteries from five to 13 “as quickly as possible.”

The spending “ensures that Israel has the capacity to defend itself while providing the U.S. the ability to leverage our significant investments” in Iron Dome, Heck said in a brief discussion as the House debated a defense spending bill for 2014.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.