The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee introduced legislation on Wednesday to provide $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 progressive 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 progressive 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, with the defense system saving many lives along the country's northern and southern frontiers.
The bill introduced on Wednesday by Representative Rosa DeLauro provides $1 billion to replace missile interceptors used during that conflict. Voting is expected on Thursday.
“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,” the Connecticut Democrat said in a statement.
“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.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had said on Tuesday evening he would bring the Iron Dome bill to the House floor later this week.