GOP loses key Democrat with third anti-BDS vote in a week
Third time’s the charm, right? Not so much. The Senate this evening failed 50-43 to advance an anti-BDS bill for the third time within a week. And this time Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lost support from a key defector – the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
Menendez had joined Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., in voting to advance the bill twice last week. The other three still sided with Republicans today.
"I don’t like the Majority Leader using the US-Israel relationship as a political pawn."
“I don’t like the Majority Leader using the US-Israel relationship as a political pawn,” Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Al-Monitor. “It’s time to get the government open … It’s obvious that he’s just going to continue to do this. And at the end of the day this isn’t about getting this done; this is about scoring political points.”
But Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who also supports the underlying legislation despite consistently voting against advancing debate during a shutdown, fully expects the bill to pass once the government is fully funded.
“I think there’s broad bipartisan support for anti-BDS legislation,” Cardin told Al-Monitor. “We had an opportunity over the last two years. Senator McConnell did not take advantage of that; that’s disappointing to me. We’ll find a time to bring up anti-BDS legislation.”