This bill provides funding for the federal government through the remainder of FY 2011 on 9/30/11. It includes a regular appropriations bill for the Dept. of Defense and a continuing resolution for the rest of the federal government. Instead of passing a new budget for FY 2011, this bill first extends the FY 2010 budget, allowing government agencies to continue spending money at the same rate on the same activities allowed in the FY 2010 budget bills. It then makes broad adjustments, usually reductions, to the spending levels of certain agencies and spending programs.
When it adjourned in December 2010, the 111th Congress had failed to pass several bills required to fund much of the federal government through FY 2011. Instead, it passed a stop gap measure providing only enough funding for the government to remain in operation until 3/4/11, leaving the question of funding the government to the newly elected 112th Congress. After winning major victories in the November 2011 mid-term elections, a new Republican majority took control of the House of Representatives when the 112th Congress convened in January 2011. Having campaigned on the need to address the dangers posed by the mounting national debt and the need to drastically reduce the size of the federal government, the top priorities for Republicans became slashing government spending and curtailing government programs and agencies unpopular among them.
Republican appropriators had pushed for sweeping cuts from the non-defense, discretionary portion of the 2010 budget totaling $60 - 100 b., but opposition to such cuts from Democrats resulted in a months-long budget dispute that nearly shut down the federal government. This bill represents the resolution to that dispute and cuts a total of $38.5 b. from 2010 non-defense discretionary spending levels, $6.5 b. of which were cut from the international affairs budget.
Despite deep cuts to other government programs, the bill provides the following increased levels of aid to Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), the West Bank and Gaza as requested by Pres. Barack Obama for FY 2011:
Israeli Ballistic Missile Defense Systems:
Provides a total of $415.115 m. to fund research, development and procurement of various missile defense systems for Israel. $210.115 m. is for three systems that have been jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel over many years, including $84.722 m. for the David’s Sling Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense program; $66.427 for the existing Arrow-2 system, including $12 m. to procure Arrow-2 missile components from Boeing and Israeli Aerospace Industries; and $58.966 for research and development of the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense system.
The remaining $205 m. was provided to the Dept. of Defense to finance Israel’s purchase of additional batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system which is designed to defend against the type of short range rockets and mortars fired from the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome is produced by the Israeli firm Raphael Advanced Defense Systems, and this marks the first time the Dept. of Defense has provided funding for a missile defense system produced solely by Israel.
Financing for Israeli arms purchases:
Provides Israel with a total of $3 b. in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants for FY 2011. $2.775 b. had already been provided in the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Public Law 111-242, see H.R. 3081 of 6/26/09) passed in 12/10 during the 111th Congress. In effect, this bill provides the remaining $225 m. of the $3 b. pledged by the George W. Bush administration for FY 2011. The Bush administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel in 8/07 which lays out the precise amount of military aid the U.S. will provide Israel for each year from 2009-2018. The grant is for Israel to purchase U.S.-produced weapons, defense equipment, defense services and military training. Israel would also have the option of using $7