Republicans launch bid to force BDS vote
Doubling down on their accusations of anti-Semitism within Democratic ranks, Republicans are launching a new push to pass legislation against boycotts of Israel.
House Minority whip Steve Scalise, R-La., began collecting signatures today for a discharge position to force a floor vote on a bill providing legal cover to state-level laws cracking down on the pro-Palestinian BDS movement.
Republicans will need to gain a handful of Democrats to force a floor vote, a difficult task given their leadership’s opposition to the bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., threw cold war on the bipartisan legislation after it passed the Senate 77-23 in February as part of a broader Middle East legislative package. He argued that it did not properly distinguish between free speech and “actions to hurt an ally of the United States.”
But Republicans are launching a full-court press in their latest effort. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argued that “The House must stand against the toxic BDS movement” in a Washington Post op-ed today.
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has let the legislation languish on her desk,” they wrote. “If 21 Democrats sign on – fewer than the number of Senate Democrats who supported the bill – it will get the vote it deserves.”
Republican leaders in recent months have sought to paint the Democratic party as increasingly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. They have zeroed in on the only two lawmakers to support BDS, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., accusing them of anti-Semitism.
- Bryant Harris