House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pledged Tuesday to bring up a separate bill to provide funding for Israel’s Iron Dome later this week after it was removed from the final House-passed bill to prevent a government shutdown and suspend the nation’s borrowing limit.
Though the $1 billion in funding allocated for the aerial defense system had initially been included in the bill that the House considered Tuesday, the provision was removed from the final version to appease a group of progressives who said they would sink the legislation unless that funding was struck from it.
Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, speaking from the House floor, said he would bring the bill under suspension, which means it would bypass the normal rules required to pass the bill and would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System is designed to intercept rockets midair — by targeting ithem and firing interceptor missiles to destroy them — before they can kill Israeli civilians. It was initially developed by Israel’s defense technology company Rafael, but the system has since been heavily sponsored by the United States.
Prior to Hoyer’s announcement, an Appropriations Committee spokesperson told CNN that the funding for the Iron Dome would be included in the 2022 defense bill. But after Hoyer’s announcement, the spokesperson said if emergency funding to replenish Iron Dome interceptors passes, the program would not need an additional infusion for that purpose later in the year.
Still, a handful of moderate Democrats expressed frustration with party leaders for taking out the funding for the system at the request of progressives.
“I’m incredulous right now,” Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jewish Democrat from Minnesota, told CNN.
Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona tweeted, “The Iron Dome is a product of Israeli-American collaboration, with a long connection to southern Arizona, that protects civilians from rocket attacks. There’s no good reason to block replenishing it and I’ll continue to support funding it.”
And Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan tweeted, “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.”
Before the provision was removed, Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York outlined why he joined a group of progressives in opposing it in Tuesday night’s bill, saying, “The problem is once again leadership just throws something on our table, gives us about five minutes to decide what we’re going to do and then tries to move forward with it.”
The stopgap bill to avoid a shutdown and suspend the borrowing limit ultimately passed the House by 220-211.
Government funding is set to expire on September 30, but the bill would extend funding and keep the government open through December 3. In addition, the measure includes a debt limit suspension through December 16, 2022. It would also provide $28.6 billion in disaster relief funding and $6.3 billion to assist Afghanistan evacuees.
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