Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Senate Democrats block Middle East policy, anti-BDS bill amid shutdown

Senate Democrats block Middle East policy, anti-BDS bill amid shutdown

Passage of S. 1 - the first bill entered in this Senate session - would codify a 10-year memorandum of understanding on military assistance with Israel negotiated by the Obama administration; reauthorize defense cooperation with Jordan; reimpose sanctions on entities financing the Syrian government; and authorize state and local governments to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

The act is part of a wider Middle East policy bill, the first to be introduced by Senate Republicans in the new Congress which began on January. The motion failed on a vote of 57-43.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said a new batch of polling shows voters back Democrats or want a compromise now.

Three Democrats from red states voted with Republicans: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama, and Krysten Sinema of Arizona.

Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, tweeted that the Senate "should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government" until the shutdown is resolved.

In the House, convening for its first full week under Democratic control, leaders plan to advance a series of individual spending bills to fund federal agencies, beginning Wednesday with legislation that would reopen the Treasury Department and the IRS.

Some Democratic senators have responded to the Senate's inaction by saying they will stop discussion of bills that don't relate to funding the government.

"Our position is there is a crisis on our southern border, we've been negotiating to open the government and address that border crisis, we're also taking steps to mitigate the effects of the shutdown", Pence told reporters at a briefing Monday. "You don't solve a shutdown with a shutdown". Both Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Sen.

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Many Democrats oppose the anti-BDS bill now before Congress, but Rubio went after one of the two Muslim women.

Senators got the sense on Wednesday that Trump will fight for the wall indefinitely.

"They forgot what country they represent", Tlaib, a Palestinian American, wrote on Twitter Sunday. "This is the USA where boycotting is a right and part of our historical fight for freedom and equality".

"This "dual loyalty" canard is a typical anti-Semitic line". A huge argument broke out at Senate Dem meeting last week over BDS.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned Rubio's assertion that Democrats voted against moving forward with the bill due to a "significant [number] of Senate Democrats [who] now support BDS" and that the party's leaders "want to avoid a floor vote that reveals that".

"There was a very negative reaction by the American public, and the American public today overwhelmingly believes the policy being pursued", Hoyer said.

"The notion that he's going to walk away with nothing is not real", said Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. A Democratic committee aide said Engel expects to see House action on the bill soon.

It states it would 'increase protections for state and local governments in the United States that decide to divest from, prohibit investment in, and restrict contracting with companies knowingly engaged in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity targeting Israel, ' according to Senate Republicans.

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