Sep 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never been a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic Party over Israel.

What we're hearing: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday about the holdup in the voting on the Iron Dome funding.

  • Lapid’s office said Hoyer stressed the holdup was "technical” due to disagreements in Congress about the deficit and conveyed the commitment by him, the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to pass the Iron Dome funding soon.

The backdrop: Politico first broke the news about the funding being removed from the continuing resolution, which is expected to be considered by the House later today.

  • The funding has been a key priority for Hoyer, but its supporters ultimately caved after several progressive members like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) threatened to vote against the short-term funding bill, which also includes language to raise the debt ceiling.
  • “The Iron Dome will be included in the final, bipartisan and bicameral fiscal year 2022 defense bill," said a House Appropriations Committee spokesperson.

Flashback: President Biden committed publicly in May at the end of the Gaza war to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system. Biden repeated the pledge last month during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

What they're saying: Israeli officials told Axios' Barak Ravid that the development is a result of the 12 years of Netanyahu policies, which harmed Israel's bipartisan status in America.

This story has been updated with new reporting about Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's call with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

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