on the hill

Bipartisan House group to express support for supplemental aid to Israel

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is expected to request $1 billion to replenish and upgrade the the Iron Dome system system in a meeting with Sec of Defense Lloyd Austin

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) speaks during a news conference with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to unveil a COVID-19 emergency relief framework in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

Ahead of an anticipated request from Israel for supplemental aid to replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system following the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups, a bipartisan group of House members plans to express support for the aid.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will meet later this week with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and is expected to request $1 billion in supplemental aid — more than four times the amount requested following Israel’s 2014 conflict with Gaza — to replenish and upgrade the Iron Dome system, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced on Tuesday after meeting with Israeli officials.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) is leading a bipartisan group of at least 45 other House members in sending a letter to Austin ahead of the meeting to “express our strong support for the Biden Administration’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s safety and security, including replenishing Israel’s stock of interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system and other important matters,” according to a draft obtained by Jewish Insider.

The missile defense system was used to shoot down many of the 4,500 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza during the recent 11-day conflict.

The letter says the U.S. must “remain clear eyed” about the threats Israel faces and ensure that Israel does not run the risk of depleting its Iron Dome interceptor stockpile the next time it is attacked.

The lawmakers also point to a 2014 emergency supplemental appropriation that provided an additional $225 million to replenish Israel’s interceptors during the 2014 conflict with Hamas,  when terrorists “fired a similar number of rockets,” according to the letter.

Under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel, the two countries may agree on additional military aid — on top of the $3.8 billion it is scheduled to receive annually — in the event of a major armed conflict.

“If Israel requests additional assistance, as contemplated in the MOU, please work closely with Congress to expeditiously fulfill this request. To help facilitate this process, we look forward to receiving a reply from you outlining your assessment of the need for Iron Dome replenishment and your engagement with our ally Israel on this matter,” the lawmakers wrote. “Please know that Congress stands with the Administration in its commitment to ensuring Israel’s security and capability to defend itself from any attack.”

The full signatory list as of Tuesday evening included Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Tom Suozzi (D-NJ), Darren Soto (D-FL), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Lucy McBath (D-IL), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Grace Meng (D-NY), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Colin Allred (D-TX), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Connor Lamb (D-PA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Susan Wild (D-PA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Scott Peters (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MI), Jared Golden (D-ME), Tom Reed (R-NY), Fred Upton (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), David Joyce (R-OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Peter Meijer (R-MI) Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Don Bacon (R-NE).

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