House Democratic leadership stripped funding for Israel’s missile defense system from its government spending and debt ceiling hike bill on Tuesday, after a group of progressive members threatened to block the legislation unless the aid was withdrawn.
The decision to remove the $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome interception system—which is estimated to have saved thousands of Israeli civilian lives from terrorist rocket attacks—signals House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) willingness to cave to the increasingly anti-Israel views of her progressive members.
The group protesting the $1 billion in Iron Dome funding included Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) and other members who signed onto unsuccessful legislation to block arms sales to Israel in May, according to a Politico reporter. At least 15 members sponsored or cosponsored that bill, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Their offices did not respond to a request for comment.
The news that they would block funding sent the House Rules Committee into recess on Tuesday, according to reports. Democratic leadership tied the debt ceiling increase to a continuing resolution to fund the government on Monday, in an attempt to pressure Senate Republicans into backing the bill or taking the blame for a government shutdown.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which was developed with funding from the Obama administration, intercepted thousands of rockets fired at Israeli residential areas by Hamas terrorists last spring.
The House is expected to vote on the bill as early as this week, according to the New York Times.
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