House Democrats removed $1 billion for additional military aid for Israel from a stopgap funding bill that was passed in the House on Tuesday.
The $1 billion would be on top of the $3.8 billion the US already gives Israel each year. Israel requested the additional amount after its bombardment in Gaza in May, which killed over 250 Palestinians, including over 60 children.
The Israelis say they need the money to restock the iron dome missile defense system. But when the request was first reported, Israeli officials also said they would also use the money to purchase munitions, mainly precision-guided bombs for the Israeli Air Force.
The stopgap bill is being pushed through to avert a government shutdown, but it could fail in the Senate. The $1 billion for Israel was removed over protests by progressive Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Since no Republicans were expected to vote for the bill, Democratic leadership needed the support of the progressives to pass the legislation.
US lawmakers were quick to assure Israel that it will get its money. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) promised to bring the extra $1 billion to a vote in the House as early as this week during a call with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
This evening, I announced on the Floor that the House will consider legislation this week to fully fund Iron Dome. We will act to ensure Israel has the ability to defend itself, and I expect strong, bipartisan support for this effort.— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) September 22, 2021
"This evening, I announced on the Floor that the House will consider legislation this week to fully fund Iron Dome," Hoyer wrote on Twitter. Other members of Congress said the extra $1 billion will be included in the 2022 defense appropriations bill.