WASHINGTON: The chief of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee launched laws on Wednesday to offer $1 billion to Israel to replenish its “Iron Dome” missile-defense system, a day after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.
Some of the most liberal House Democrats had objected to the provision and said they would vote against the broad spending bill. This threatened its passage because Republicans were lined up against the plan to fund the federal government through Dec. 3 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
The removal led Republicans to label Democrats as anti-Israel, despite a long tradition in the U.S. Congress of strong support from both parties for the Jewish state, to which Washington sends billions of dollars in aid every year.
The United States has already provided more than $1.6 billion for Israel to develop and build the Iron Dome system, according to a Congressional Research Service report last year.
Some liberal Democrats have voiced concerns this year about U.S.-Israel policy, citing among other things the many Palestinian casualties as Israel responded to Hamas rocket attacks in May. Israel said most of the 4,350 rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict were blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.
The bill introduced on Wednesday by Representative Rosa DeLauro provides $1 billion to replace missile interceptors used during that conflict.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had said on Tuesday evening he would bring the Iron Dome bill to the House floor later this week.
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