Democratic Tensions Erupt After Funding For Israel’s Iron Dome Stripped From Stopgap Bill – Forbes
Recent tensions between moderate and progressive Democrats spilled out into the open on Tuesday after progressives succeeded in getting funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system stripped from a bill to keep the federal government funded through December.
UNITED STATES – JUNE 23: From left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and Jason … [+]
Around $1 billion for the Iron Dome was removed from the continuing resolution, a bill to temporarily avert a government shutdown in lieu of an annual budget, but will end up in a defense appropriations bill, according to a source familiar with the move.
House progressives led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, reportedly threatened to withhold their votes on the measure if the funding stayed in.
The move drew swift rebukes from not only Republicans in Congress, but Democrats, with swing district Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) tweeting that it’s “problematic” to use a missile system that “just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives” as a “political chit.”
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), a Progressive Caucus member, added his voice to the chorus of moderate Democrats blasting the move, arguing that the inclusion of the funding would only be considered a “controversy” in a “morally inverted universe.”
Jayapal told Forbes she communicated to leadership that the funding was a non-starter with members of her caucus, adding that there is “no reason for us to fund that right now.”
Slotkin, in a brief interview with Forbes on Capitol Hill, shot back at Jayapal’s argument: “Well then I look forward to them voting on it either in the Defense Appropriations or a standalone bill.”
The development is just the latest in a series of Democratic scuffles on Israel and, more recently, on spending bills. Progressives have threatened to sink a bipartisan infrastructure bill set to be voted on next week unless it’s paired with a $3.5 trillion social spending package, drawing the ire of moderates who favor the infrastructure bill.
3. That’s the number of votes House Democrats can afford to lose from their own party on legislation that doesn’t otherwise have Republican support. That gives small groups of members outsized power to force concessions from leadership on party-line bills.
A spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee confirmed to Forbes that while the measure was stripped from the continuing resolution, it will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a “must pass” annual defense spending bill.
I am a senior news reporter covering politics. I have previously worked for MSNBC and attended Vassar College and the London School of Economics.