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October 4, 2021 1:27 pm

AOC Defends ‘Present’ Vote on Iron Dome Funding Bill, Blames ‘Both Parties’ for Creating ‘Panic’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questions Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on ‘Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy,’ in Washington, DC, July 10, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Erin Scott.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), who helped lead an attempt by left-wing lawmakers to block US funding for Israel’s Iron Dome, defended on MSNBC her decision to vote “present” on a bill to support the air defense system.

Ocasio-Cortez claimed to interviewer Mehdi Hassan on Monday that the effort to defund Iron Dome was motivated by concerns over procedure, and not ideology, even though several of her allies, including Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, explicitly declared otherwise.

“When you want funding for use for preschool here in the United States, if you want funding for any sort of domestic priority, it must go through … different committee hearings, markups, etc.,” she claimed, “and here, just casually, a billion dollars was fast-tracked, no committee markup.”

“Leadership attempted to kind of slip in an extra billion dollars [for Iron Dome] into routine legislation,” she asserted.

She followed this with the false claim: “This funding was in addition to the already fully-funded Iron Dome, but Democratic leadership decided to run with the narrative that this was, in fact — to vote against it was to defund the Iron Dome, which sends many, many, many of our constituents into a panic.”

In fact, the funding proposed by the standalone bill was specifically designated to replenish the interceptor projectiles used to destroy incoming rockets during Israel’s conflict in May with Hamas.

Ocasio-Cortez also attacked what she called “the disingenuous messaging that both parties were advancing,” and claimed this “created a very volatile environment back in the district,” forcing her to vote “present” instead of “no” on the separate Iron Dome funding bill.

The bill passed the US House by a final tally of 420 to 9, with Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Hank Johnson (GA) voting present, and “no” votes from Republican Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Democrats Rashida Tlaib (MI), André Carson (IN), Ilhan Omar (MN), Cori Bush (MO), Marie Newman (IL), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Chuy Garcia (IL), and Raúl Grijalva (AZ).

The measure now awaits passage in the Senate, where Kentucky Republican Rand Paul unilaterally blocked a fast-track procedure to approve the Iron Dome funding.

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