Politico

House Democrats introduce $1B funding bill for Israel’s Iron Dome


The top House Democrat on Appropriations introduced a bill on Wednesday that would provide $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, after the funding was abruptly pulled from a government funding package Tuesday.

Democrats were forced to toss the money from a stopgap spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month amid objections from progressives. The incident, which temporarily derailed a vote on the continuing resolution, illustrated the long-simmering internal tensions within the party over supporting Israel, a longtime U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro initially promised to include the funding in a year-end appropriations package, which would require lengthy bipartisan negotiations and isn’t guaranteed to materialize. But as more moderate Democrats called for the restoration of the funding, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pledged to call for a vote later this week.

“The United States’ commitment to the security of our friend and ally Israel is ironclad. Replenishing interceptors used to protect Israel from attacks is our legal and moral responsibility,” DeLauro (D-Conn.) said in a statement Wednesday. “While this funding would ordinarily be included in a year-end spending package, we are advancing this legislation now to demonstrate Congress’ bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security as part of a Middle East with lasting peace.”

Iron Dome, which is built by a joint venture of U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Technologies and Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, enjoys wide support on Capitol Hill. The U.S. has consistently funded the missile defense system on a bipartisan basis to help Israel defend itself against rocket attacks from terrorist groups in Gaza, including Hamas.

President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other administration officials have also backed Israel’s request to replenish the missile defense system after hundreds of interceptors were used to knock down rockets launched from Gaza in a conflict with Hamas in the spring.

But those funding efforts have faced progressive resistance in recent years, with more liberal members of the party demanding that U.S. military aid to Israel be conditions-based. Their push has frustrated moderate Democrats, who worry about being portrayed as anti-Israel.

Indeed, Republicans were quick to seize on the issue Tuesday, with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeting, “While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.“

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and top GOP appropriator Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama introduced their own continuing resolution on Tuesday night that would restore the Iron Dome funding.

Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy, however, said he prefers to address the issue in a year-end government funding package.

“The Israelis haven’t even taken the money we’ve already appropriated,” the Vermont Democrat said. “We can do more Iron Dome in the appropriations funding.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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