For Immediate Release: 
September 23, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of legislation to replenish the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to view the video.

“This is not a partisan issue. And, very frankly, the C.R. that was brought to the Floor the other day would have said we are going to pay the debts of the United States because we don't welsh and we are going to fund Iron Dome.
“Unfortunately, because to a person, our Republican colleagues would have refused and said they would not vote for that resolution, and because – yes, there were a very, very few who said they wouldn't vote for it on our side – because if you would not vote for it and we had just a handful who would not vote, we could not pass it. So the debt limit was at risk. And Iron Dome was at risk.
“And the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Rosa DeLauro, said: That won't stand. I stood on this Floor and said we will bring an individual bill I hope all of us will support. Obviously, all of us are not supporting it. There are some few who will not support this. But the overwhelming majority of this Congress, not in a partisan way, but in an American way, will support defending the Democratic State of Israel, created by the United Nations of the world to be an independent, sovereign, secure nation. And, very frankly, in a bipartisan way, no nation on Earth has been more important for the survival and security and sovereignty of that nation than the United States of America. Today continues that commitment.
“Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, I said that we will deal with Iron Dome without delay to help defend Israel against Hamas’s rocket attacks. 
“Today, I’m proud to bring this legislation to the Floor and thank not only Chair DeLauro but I also thank many who have spoken – and certainly my friend, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mr. Deutch, Mr. Schneider, and others who have talked to me about this issue. We bring this bill to the Floor with the expectation that it will be overwhelmingly passed. Because we will put behind us partisanship.
“Support for Israel has traditionally been a bipartisan exercise in the United States Congress.  That’s because we overwhelmingly recognize the fundamental right of the Jewish people to live independently in their ancestral homeland and to do so in peace and security.
“Israel’s story is inspiring and uplifting, a culmination of centuries of yearning to reclaim freedom and self-determination.  Since its founding, millennia ago in some respects and more politically from 1948 to today, Israel has been under constant threat and attack from those who would deny its right to exist. Israel has been under constant threat of attack from those who would deny its right to exist, not about offensive actions they took – denied their very right to exist.
“As we continue to stand up for a two-state solution that achieves peace, security, hope, and opportunity for both Israelis and Palestinians, we vigorously, strongly, unshakably, stand for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism.  Make no mistake: Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations bent on murder and genocide and of eliminating Israel from that map of which Mr. Deutch talked. Supported by Iran, one of the most prolific supporters of terrorism in the world, and avowing not only the destruction of Israel but also harm to America, Hamas and Hezbollah continue to rain terror down upon innocent Israelis.
“In May, Hamas showed the world yet again why these terror organizations remain a threat to peace and to the future of both Israelis and Palestinians. The rocket attacks it launched from Gaza – a territory it rules with a draconian iron fist – sought to kill innocent Israeli civilians indiscriminately.  Sadly, Hamas’s attacks compelled a defensive response that led to the deaths of innocent Palestinians trapped in Hamas’s way or used as human shields by the terror organization’s brutal rule.
“Mr. Speaker, much of the reason why so many innocent Israelis’ lives were saved was because of something we have done here in Congress since 2010, which is to fund and support and jointly develop the deployment of the defensive anti-rocket system called Iron Dome.  Iron Dome has saved countless lives since 2010, including during the conflict in May, protecting schools, hospitals, synagogues, and family homes.  The system continues to do its job, with a rocket from Gaza being intercepted less than two weeks ago.
“During a period of ten days in May, Hamas fired more than 4,400 rockets. Ten days. 4,400. Over 400 rockets a day fired into Israel. Iron Dome extrordinarily intercepted 90% of them.  That number, in just ten days, was a dramatic escalation over the number of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah over the previous ten years, which was around 10,000. Hezbollah, by the way, and we all recognize this, is estimated by published reports – I don't have the classified reports – to have 130,000 rockets aimed at Israel from Southern Lebanon.
“The number of interceptors Israel needs to deal with these escalating attacks is going up dramatically as well. I talked to Mr. [Yair] Lapid just two days ago, and he said to me: Congressman, I really don't know. We know how many rockets they have. We just don't know how many they'll send at one time, so we need to make sure there is sufficient supply and the resupply after the rockets confronting the 4,400 rockets were used.
“Over those previous ten years, Israel needed 2,400 interceptors for 10,000 rockets. In May, it needed 2,000 interceptors to take down 4,400 incoming rockets. As a result of May’s unprecedented barrage and the use of Iron Dome to defend against it, the system needs to be replenished.
“Mr. Speaker, I was proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support Iron Dome as part of the broad, bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and support the joint American-Israeli development of the ‘David’s Sling’ long-range missile defense system . Why do we ask the taxpayers of the United States of America to do that? We do it because we believe it's in their best interest. Yes, it's in Israel’s interest. And, yes, it's in the interest of Israelis, but it's in the security interest of the United States of America. And that's why we proudly stand up and support this funding and other funding that we give to Israel so that it can remain the democracy that honors human rights.
“Does everybody honor human rights every day, America? We can look in the mirror. Every country can do that. But Israel, unlike any other country in the Middle East, has a Supreme Court that says to the government: You cannot do that.  This is the right thing to do. And then Israelis do it. A nation of laws. A nation of morals. A nation that's committed to the democratic process.

"This day, this Congress will reflect overwhelming support on a bipartisan basis. Today, I believe we will again evidence our broad and bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security, the safety of its people, and its right to self-defense. I want to thank Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro for introducing this legislation and our appropriators who worked on it, as I said, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“Mr. Speaker, I trust that we will pass this today, in just a few minutes. I trust the Senate will take it up immediately, and we will send it to the President of the United States. He supports this. He urges that we pass it. He will do the same in the Senate.
“This is the right thing to do. It is what America does. It stands up for countries who stand up for freedom. And so, I urge the House on both sides of the aisle to overwhelmingly support the passage of this legislation and yield back the balance of my time.”