More than four-fifths of the U.S. Senate have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to quickly reach an agreement on a new defense aid package for Israel worth more than the current $3 billion per year. Eighty-three of the 100 senators signed the letter, led by Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Coons. Senator Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, was one of the 51 Republicans on board. The Senate's Democratic White House hopeful, Bernie Sanders, was not among the 32 Democrats. The Senate also intends to consider increased U.S. funding for cooperative missile defense programs, similar to increases in the past several years. Obama has asked for $150 million for such programs, but lawmakers are believed to be willing to send Israel hundreds of millions for programs like its Iron Dome air defense system and David's Sling medium- and long-range defense system.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.