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House Dems block aid for Israel’s missile defense system in gov’t funding bill

A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome, launched during the Operation Pillar of Defense to intercept a missile coming from the Gaza strip. (IDF/Flickr)
September 22, 2021

Before passing its fiscal rescue package Tuesday night, House Democrats pulled $1 billion in funding aid for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which has been used to stop hundreds of rockets launched by terrorist groups in Gaza from raining down on Israeli citizens.

The effort to block funding to Israel was reportedly led by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). House Rules Chairman James McGovern said the promised funding will instead come from the annual defense bill later this year, Fox News reported.

According to Politico, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will likely call for a vote later this week on legislation that will fully fund the Iron Dome. “I was for that. I’m still for it, we ought to do it,” he said.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro said there is “no interruption in funding for the Iron Dome,” and that lawmakers are “trying to make this seamless.”

Moderate Democrats in the lower chamber objected to the move spearheaded by the party’s progressive wing, including Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who called rejecting a “purely defensive system” for political purposes “problematic.”

“Iron Dome is a purely *defensive* system — it protects civilians when hundreds of rockets are shot at population centers. Whatever your views on the Israeli-Pal conflict, using a system that just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives as a political chit is problematic.”

Slotkin noted that the United States continued support of the Iron Dome stems from then-President Barack Obama’s 2016 Memorandum of Understanding.

“All of this is publicly-available information. So to target Iron Dome now means the issue isn’t a genuine concern over the system, but rather the desire to attack something – anything – related to the State of Israel; it’s devoid of substance and irresponsible,” she concluded in a separate tweet.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined a number of GOP lawmakers who spoke out against the Democrats’ decision.

“BREAKING → Democrats just pulled funding from the Iron Dome—the missile defense system that has saved countless lives in Israel from Hamas’ rocket attacks,” McCarthy tweeted. “While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also condemned the decision, calling it “tragic.”

“Tragic. Dem leadership surrenders to the anti-Semitic Left,” Cruz tweeted. “They hate Israel so much that Dems are stripping $1 BILLION in funding for Iron Dome—a purely defensive system that protects countless innocent civilians from Hamas rockets.”

“Will any Dems have the courage to denounce?” he added.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton accused the Democrats of removing funding to Israel “because the Iron Dome works” to protect innocent Israelis against terrorist attacks.

“Why did the Democrats just strip out funding to support Israel’s Iron Dome? Because the Iron Dome works,” Cotton tweeted. “For Ilhan Omar and the left, saving Israeli lives from terror attacks is unacceptable.”