The Senate Failed to Send $225 Million in Aid to Israel (For About Half a Day)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 1 2014 3:39 PM

The Senate Failed to Send $225 Million in Aid to Israel (For About Half a Day)

The headline was unthinkable, until it was real: Senate blocks aid to Israel. Senate Democrats initially packed $225 million of aid to Israel (to fund the Iron Dome) missile defense into their immigration supplemental, but when that got stuck they broke the bill apart. The Israel portion should have been easy, but Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn—who is retiring in a few months—refused to go along with unanimous consent.

"We're gonna be asked today, probably seven or 10 times, to pass pieces of legislation that the very cost for will fall on the backs of our children," said Coburn. "To ask us to spend $200 million here or $2 billion here ... without doing the hard work of not transferring debt to our children is unacceptable to me. If you want to pass any bill by unanimous consent, you better find some waste, or I'm gonna object."


Coburn sounded resolute. He'd get heat for blocking aid, he said, but "our children and our grandchildren are worth any kind of heat ... I want to defend Israel. I want to supply 'em. I also want our children to have a future."

Less than a day later, Coburn relented. The aid passed unanimously, and Senate leaders took the floor to promise that America would "stand beside its best friend in the world" (Mitch McConnell) and send a "signal that we are with the Israelis."

(My question to Coburn's office, about what changed his mind, has not been answered.)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.