Top House Dem and GOP leaders issued a joint statement this morning in support of Israel.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) noted their recent congressional delegation to Israel, where they toured an Iron Dome missile defense site.
“During the summer of 2014 as Hamas indiscriminately launched rockets at civilian population centers, the Iron Dome protected innocent lives by intercepting roughly 90 percent of Hamas’s rockets,” Hoyer and McCarthy said. “As we visited the towns of Ashkelon and Sderot near Gaza, we saw firsthand that without the Iron Dome, many more people would have lost their lives.”
“Congress stands united with Israel, not only in support of its Iron Dome defenses, but also in preserving Israel’s security and ensuring the safety of its people. In these dangerous times, Israel can always be certain that the American people are by their side.”
Hoyer has not yet announced his decision, but criticized the Obama administration for taking the nuclear deal to the United Nations before letting Congress weigh in after the legally mandated review period.
Hoyer told CNN that, in his private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the congressional trip, Bibi expressed “nothing that he hasn’t said publicly.”
“He believes it’s not a good deal. He believes it ought to be rejected. And he believes a better deal ought to be pursued,” Hoyer said.
The Democratic whip said he intends to spend the week relaxing with his family, but after that give the deal “very careful consideration because I know it’s one of the more important decisions that I will be asked to make as a member of Congress.”
“I do not believe that if the agreement were not approved that that is a path to war. We imposed the sanctions through Congress with the cooperation of the administration and sanctions, in my opinion, brought Iran to the table,” Hoyer said. “The first step would have to be to keep sanctions in place and perhaps to be tougher … I don’t agree that we would set the country on a path to war.”
Hoyer added with a knowing smile that the meetings “resonated those concerns” he has about the deal.
“I think the concerns are pretty universal,” he said. “And the president would say, ‘Yes, I have those concerns myself, this is not a perfect answer, but this is the best answer at this time.'”