Leading Senate Democrats seek to block pro-Israel bill
January 18, 2019
(JNS)—Senate Democrats are reportedly seeking to block pro-Israel legislation introduced last week that Republican leadership is scheduled for Tuesday.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) each tweeted opposition to a vote advancing the legislation, citing the partial government shutdown over the past few weeks due to U.S. President Donald Trump not getting funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.
The proposed measure rolls four bills that were introduced in the previous Congress, but were not enacted before the end of the year.
Among the measures included were ones to enhance U.S. defense and security assistance in the Middle East, improve the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship, enable state and local governments to fight the anti-Israel BDS movement, and slap on new sanctions against the Syrian regime.
“It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity,” Sanders said in reference to the anti-BDS measure. “Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don’t reopen the government. Let’s get our priorities right.”
Sanders also tweeted, “We should block consideration of all bills on the Senate floor until we end the Trump shutdown and reopen the federal government.”
“Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government,” tweeted Van Hollen. “Mitch, don’t delay. Let’s vote!”
Cardin, who wanted to insert his Israel Anti-Boycott Act into spending legislation last month, shared Van Hollen’s Twitter post and added, “Agreed. This isn’t business as usual. This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it.”
“The Senate should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government until [McConnell] lets us vote on exactly that,” he added.
Agreed. This isn’t business as usual. This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it.
The Senate should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government until @SenateMajLdr lets us vote on exactly that. #Shutdown https://t.co/IUiJLWP68R.
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) January 6, 2019