After AOC’s Squad Move, New Bill for $1b in Iron Dome Funding Passes House Vote

the squad votes
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The House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a stand-alone bill to provide Israel with $1 billion to fund its Iron Dome missile defense system, two days after the funding was removed from a wider spending bill following pressure from the Squad.

The money would be used to replenish Israel’s supply of interceptors for its Iron Dome missile defense system, which was largely depleted during the 11-day conflict with Gaza in May, during which more than 4,500 rockets were fired into Israel.

The vote passed with 420 lawmakers in favor of the bill, and only nine against.

“The United States’ commitment to the security of our friend and ally Israel is ironclad. Replenishing interceptors used to protect Israel from attacks is our legal and moral responsibility,” House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, the Connecticut Democrat who introduced the bill, said in a statement Wednesday.

“While this funding would ordinarily be included in a year-end spending package, we are advancing this legislation now to demonstrate Congress’ bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security as part of a Middle East with lasting peace,” she said.

After the Squad successfully worked to remove the Iron Dome funding from the broader bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said it would be brought for a separate vote to the House floor this week.

“It is my intention to bring to this floor a suspension bill before the end of this week that will fund fully Iron Dome. I was for that. I’m still for it, we ought to do it,” said Hoyer on Tuesday. “I talked to the [Israeli] foreign minister, Mr. [Yair] Lapid, just two hours ago and assured him that bill was going to pass this House.”

Israeli leaders praised the bill’s passage, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanking members of the House of Representatives “for their overwhelming support for Israel and their commitment to its security.”

In a veiled reference to the Squad, the Israeli premier went on: “Those who try to challenge this support, received the correct answer today. The people of Israel thank the American people and their representatives for their strong friendship.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also expressed his thanks.

“US support for our missile defense system on a bipartisan basis is critical for Israel’s defense against rocket attacks conducted by terrorist groups such as Hamas in Gaza – but not only. Israel’s borders are surrounded by malign actors and terrorist groups who seek to harm our civilians and destroy the only Jewish State.

“We saw this clearly in May 2021 when terrorist group Hamas launched over 4000 missiles at schools, hospitals, homes – Israeli population centers- and Iron Dome shot them down. The Iron Dome is a system designed to protect and save lives.

“I thank the US government for recognizing the threats to civilian lives and for its steadfast support for the security of the State of Israel,” Gantz said.

Rashida Tlaib said she would not support “an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses, and violence. We cannot be talking only about Israelis need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system.” Tlaib added, “we should also be talking about Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks, we must be consistent in our commitment to human life.”

The Times of Israel cited an analyst on progressive politics as saying that the Squad’s move earlier this week was an attempt to make Israel a “wedge issue” on the spending bill.

The Iron Dome defense system fires to interecpt incoming missiles from Gaza in the port town of Ashdod, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the army is prepared for a “significant widening” of its operation in the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo /Tsafrir Abayov)

The Iron Dome defense system fires to interecpt incoming terrorist missiles from Gaza in the port town of Ashdod, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.  (AP Photo /Tsafrir Abayov/file)

“They know exactly what they’re doing. They have it mapped out, they have it planned out,” he told the paper.

According to Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US during the Barack Obama administration, the Squad, comprising Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman, were not daunted by taking on President Joe Biden.

Their latest legislative act was “a shot across the bow, and a very well-aimed one,” Oren told The Times of Israel.

“During the Obama period, progressives were much smaller, and less powerful, and also they were afraid to take on Obama,” Oren said. “Progressives are much more powerful, and they’re not afraid to take on Biden.”

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