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House Republicans Try Once Again to Get Democrats On The Record With Anti-BDS Bill

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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Republicans are trying once again to get House Democrats on the record against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel, this time with the possibility of using a discharge petition, according to Politico Playbook.

If the petition gets 218 signatures, the anti-BDS bill will be automatically put on the floor for a vote. The 197 Republicans in the House are expected to sign the petition, necessitating that 21 Democrats join in, reported Politico Playbook Wednesday.

The Senate passed its own version on Feb. 5 of the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019” that lets states divest from entities boycotting Israel. Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are two of the lawmakers expected to be against the House version. Both support the boycott Israel movement.

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House Republicans had tried to pass the anti-BDS bill earlier in April by attaching it to a resolution aiming to end U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war. House Democrats passed the resolution without the anti-BDS language, so Republicans painted Democrats as anti-Israel.

“Democrat leaders claim to oppose the BDS movement, but won’t schedule a vote on S.1, which contains the Combatting BDS Act and the US-Israel Security Authorization Act, or a vote on [Democratic Illinois Rep. Brad] Schneider and [GOP New York Rep. Lee] Zeldin’s bipartisan resolution condeming BDS and efforts to delegitimize Israel,” Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, said in a statement April 4. “Movements like the BDS campaign must be strongly opposed on a bipartisan basis. Democrats failed our strongest ally once again today.”

Democrats including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer say they voted for the resolution without anti-BDS language to override a Senate rejection of the bill. Under parliamentary rules, the Senate could reject the Yemen resolution because of an irrelevant attachment, this time the anti-BDS language.

“No one can accuse me of failing to defend the U.S.-Israel partnership and strongly opposing BDS, and I will be voting against this motion, and I urge all my colleagues to do so as well,” Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said on the House floor April 4. “I urge every single one of you to do so, and I urge every Republican who believes that using Israel as a partisan cudgel is dangerous, cynical, and harmful to Israel to join me in voting against this motion.”

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It is unknown whether President Donald Trump will use the second veto of his presidency on the Yemen resolution to continue U.S. involvement in the Yemen conflict.

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