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US House begins debate on bill to fund Israel’s Iron Dome

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system is launched to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, above the southern city of Ashkelon, on May 17, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)
Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system is launched to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, above the southern city of Ashkelon, on May 17, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

The US House of Representatives has begun debating HR 5323, the Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act.

The legislation was introduced after a group of progressives managed to get the $1 billion in funding for Israel’s missile defense system stripped from a stopgap emergency government funding bill earlier in the week.

Introducing the legislation, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut notes that Iron Dome is purely a defensive system in tacit criticism of the handful of progressive colleagues who have claimed the funding will be used to carry out offensive strikes in Gaza.

Progressive Representative Betty McCollum, who was among the group who threatened to vote against the government spending bill if it included the Iron Dome funding, says it was added at the last minute without any consultation from her panel. Nonetheless, she says she will support this new legislation, after receiving assurance from DeLauro that none of the funds can be used for offensive weapons by Israel.

One by one, the Republicans speaking on the House floor tear into Democrats for pulling the funding from the government spending bill earlier this week, though they too had been planning to unanimously vote against it, arguing that it included too much wasteful spending.

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