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Lapid downplays removal of Iron Dome funding from US budget bill

11 30 20
22.09.2021

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday night spoke with US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, shortly after Progressive Democrats pressured the party to remove $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a bill to keep the United States government funded.

During the phone call, Lapid was reassured that the move was a “technical delay” related to discussions over the US debt ceiling and that the defense funding would be approved at a later date, the foreign minister said in a statement.

Hoyer underlined his commitment to Israel’s security, emphasizing that it was a view shared by the White House and Democrat House and Senate leaders, while pledging that the Iron Dome funding would soon be allocated, the Foreign Ministry said.

“Minister Lapid thanked Majority Leader Hoyer for his commitment and stressed the need to approve the request as quickly as possible to ensure Israel’s security needs,” his office said.

The funds are widely expected to be approved, but at a later date. A Congressional aide, speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, insisted that the Iron Dome funding would eventually be approved, but instead would be attached to the 2022 Defense Appropriations Bill.

The clause approving the huge sum to restock Israel’s Iron Dome interceptors — crucial to protecting Israeli towns from rocket attacks and which became somewhat depleted during May’s Gaza war — had caused a hangup in the House of Representatives, as party leaders sought to push forward a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must pass the bill by September 30 to keep the government funded through the start of December. She needs all hands on deck to pass the budgetary bill, and could not afford to lose progressive votes because no Republican is willing to support it.

Pelosi may have calculated that adding the Iron Dome funding would be a way to entice Republicans, but this did not bring any onboard.

A Congress member told The Times of Israel that Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Betty McCollum pushed........

© The Times of Israel


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