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Democrats Strip Funds for Israel From Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling

·2 min read
Democrats Strip Funds for Israel From Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic leaders stripped funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a bill to keep the government funded and raise the debt ceiling because because of objections from some of the party’s progressives.

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The $1 billion for the Israeli military will instead be included in a later bill funding the U.S. Defense Department that’s expected to get bipartisan support in the House and Senate

Republicans are lining up in opposition because of the debt ceiling provision, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can afford to lose no more than three Democrats if all GOP House members vote against the bill.

Rule Committee Chairman James McGovern said the progressive Democrats objected, arguing that there wasn’t an immediate need for the missiles. The Defense Department asked in a classified supplemental request for $1 billion to replace Iron Dome missiles used by Israel after rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in May.

Although some progressives have been critical of U.S. policy toward Israel and Israel’s handling of the Palestinians, New York Representative Jamaal Bowman said the issue was that the provision was added at the last minute without a chance for discussion.

“It’s not about Israel, it’s about, once again, leadership, throwing something on our table last minute and expecting us to decide in five minutes what to do with it, that’s the bigger problem,” Bowman said.

The move to strip funding for the Raytheon Technologies system drew criticisms from both sides of the aisle.

“While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted in reaction.

Representative Bradley Schneider of Illinois, a moderate Democrat, called the decision short-sighted, stressing that Iron Dome is a defensive system that “saves lives on both sides of the border.”

“U.S. stands with Israel, and we’re going to re-fund Iron Dome,” Schneider.

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