House Democrats Remove Iron Dome Money in Government Funding Bill

The provision was reportedly removed due to criticism from progressives in the House.
September 21, 2021
An Israeli missile from the Iron Dome defense missile system is launched to intercept and destroy incoming rocket fire from Gaza (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

House Democrats have stripped a provision of the government funding bill that would have provided $1 billion toward Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The provision was reportedly removed due to criticism from progressives in the House, including Representatives Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The Continuing Resolution (CR) would fund the government until December 3; if it isn’t passed by the end of the month, a government shutdown would occur. The Iron Dome funding will instead be inserted into a separate defense bill.

Some House Democrats criticized the move.

“Iron Dome is a defensive system used by one of our closest allies to save civilian lives,” Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) tweeted. “It needs to be replenished because thousands of rockets were fired by the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza. Consider this my pushing back against this decision.”


Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) similarly tweeted, “A missile defense system (i.e. Iron Dome) defends civilians from missiles. Hence the name. Only in a morally inverted universe would this be considered a ‘controversy.’”

Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) also tweeted: “The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it. We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Republican lawmakers argued that the move showed that Republicans are the sole pro-Israel party.

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

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted that the Democrats have capitulated “to the anti-Semitic Left. 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?”

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) also tweeted, “Some House Democrats hate Israel so much that they’re refusing to pass their own spending bill if it includes funding for the Iron Dome—which protects our ally from terrorists. This is how radical they’ve become.”

Jewish groups also criticized the House Democrats’ decision.

“While we understand the additional Iron Dome funding will be included in the forthcoming defense appropriations bill, these critical funds will now unnecessarily be further delayed,” Sandra Parker, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action Fund chairwoman, said in a statement. “Those who refused to support the CR because it included funds for a purely defensive system have shown once again that they are neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-peace, they are simply anti-Israel. There is no spin, no Washingtonian explanation, no excuse whatsoever that merits opposition to Israel’s missile defense system. The simplest explanation is the accurate one: there are fringe members of Congress who despise Israel’s existence, and today, their party’s Congressional leadership buckled to their blatant, vile hatred.”

AIPAC similarly tweeted, “Extremists in Congress are playing politics with Israeli & Palestinian lives. Calling to remove funding for a lifesaving defensive system is an affront to our values, risks further conflict, and is counter to the commitment made by Biden & supported by Congressional leadership.”

Stop Antisemitism accused progressive House Democrats of putting “forth a spending bill removing Israel’s ability to defend herself from terror, ultimately resulting in more dead Jews. Remember this the next time they tweet thoughts of remembrance on Yom Hashoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day].”

Republican Jewish Coalition National Chairman Norm Coleman also said in a statement, “By cowardly caving to the Israel-hating wing of their party and blocking vital assistance to support our ally Israel, House Democrats have emboldened the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to continue dragging their party even further to the radical Left. It is stunning that within one week of celebrating the one-year anniversary of the historic and trailblazing Abraham Accords peace agreements between Israel, Bahrain and the [United Arab Emirates] House Democrats have chosen to block essential funding for Israel’s security.”

He added: “Today’s disgraceful decision by House Democrats starkly shows why it is critical that Republicans flip the House of Representatives in 2022. The choice is clear as we head into the 2022 midterms and beyond. There is only one pro-Israel party: the Republican Party.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America, on the other hand, tweeted that the fact that the Iron Dome funding will be included in an upcoming defense bill shows that the United States “remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense, and the overwhelming majority of Democrats are committed to ensuring Israel receives this funding.”

Democratic Majority for Israel also tweeted, “Iron Dome is used to protect all Israelis—Jewish and Arab alike—from missile attacks. Thank you to the majority of Democrats who spoke out against attempts to undermine it today.”

IfNotNow, on the other hand, tweeted that the House Democrats’ decision “shows how far the politics on Israel/Palestine have changed in recent years. It is long past time for the US to stop giving unconditional military aid to Israel while it maintains apartheid and occupation.”

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