Seven of the eight Minnesotans in the House of Representatives voted Thursday afternoon to pass the $1 billion Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“I’m grateful to my 210 Democratic and 210 Republican colleagues representing 97 percent of the house, who recognize the unique and unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, and voted today to support the defense of Israeli citizens against indiscriminate rocket attacks,” Third District Rep. Dean Phillips said in a statement. “Support for Israel in Congress is strong, bipartisan, and enduring.”
Said Second District Rep. Angie Craig: “The Iron Dome defense system has saved many innocent lives over the past several years and I was proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to approve its continued funding earlier today.”
The vote passed 420-9, with two voting “present.” One Republican joined eight Democrats voting no. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Minnesota’s Fifth District, was the Minnesota delegation’s lone dissenting vote. She explained her decision in a Twitter thread earlier in the day Thursday.
The passing of the legislation comes a couple of days after the money was removed from a Continuing Resolution to fund the government. Rep. Betty McCollum, the St. Paul Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, had supported removing the money at that time, saying “In order to keep the federal government open and functioning, a decision was made to remove the provision from the Continuing Resolution.”
McCollum ultimately voted to support the final bill that came to the floor on Thursday, because Iron Dome is a defensive missile system, not an offensive one.
“While Iron Dome saves innocent Israeli lives from Hamas rockets, innocent Palestinians who live under military occupation are regularly killed by Israeli security forces,” McCollum said as part of her statement. “These Palestinians have no ‘Iron Dome’ to defend themselves against Israeli human rights abuses, and Congress ignores Israel’s blatant violations of international humanitarian law, especially against Palestinian children. I voted to support today’s bill because it is intended to save lives. I remain absolutely committed to continuing my work to advance peace, human rights, and security for the people of Palestine and the people of Israel.”
Jewish Community Relations Council Executive Director Steve Hunegs said he was grateful to Phillips for his leadership, as well as acknowledging the support of McCollum and Republican Rep. Tom Emmer of the Sixth District. However, he noted the organization’s frustration with Omar.
“As much as we would like to solely accentuate the positive, we must also express our outrage at Rep. Ilhan Omar’s unconscionable decision to deny Israel the means to defend itself against Iranian funded terrorism from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah,” Hunegs’ statement said. “In our direct communications with the representative’s office, we not only highlighted these justifications for funding Iron Dome but stated very clearly that it would be impossible for the representative to have any sort of relationship with the vast majority of American Jews who believe that Israelis deserve the right to live in peace and security (irrespective of whether we agree or disagree with every position taken by its democratically elected government). That the Representative chose to turn her back on much of the Jewish community and instead provide comfort to those who champion the destruction of Israel is sadly as appalling as it is not surprising.”