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84 House members call on Biden to push Iron Dome funding in year-end appropriations bill

The letter, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) was signed by 76 Democrats and a handful of Republicans

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.

A bipartisan group of 84 House members will send a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday requesting that the administration push for the inclusion of $1 billion in supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system in an upcoming government spending bill, Jewish Insider has learned.

The House passed the Iron Dome funding as a standalone item in September, but it remains stalled in the Senate, where Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is blocking a fast-tracked approval process.

The House members — 76 Democrats and eight Republicans— led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) will urge Biden in their letter, a draft of which was obtained by JI, to “specifically request that Congress include supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome in an appropriations bill enacted before the year’s end — including in any anomalies you may request to a new continuing resolution.”

Government funding is currently set to run out on Dec. 3 — just days after Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess, requiring the House and Senate to pass either a series of appropriations bills setting government funding levels for the year or a shorter-term continuing resolution (which would carry forward previously set funding levels) before that date to avert a government shutdown.

The president can request “anomalies” in a continuing resolution — alterations to current funding levels for specific issues, although final decisions on what is included in any appropriations bill or continuing resolution are up to Congress.

Senate Democrats included the Iron Dome funding in their draft of the 2022 defense appropriations bill released in mid-October. A source close to the appropriations committee told JI that this was a “backup plan” to efforts to pass the funding as a standalone measure.

The letter follows clashes over attempts by House Democratic leadership to include the Iron Dome funding in a continuing resolution in September. No Republicans supported that continuing resolution because it also increased the debt limit. The federal government is set to hit another debt limit in the coming weeks, but it is unclear how congressional leadership plans to address it.