Senate clears path for passage of anti-BDS bill this week
After a month of fighting over legislation clamping down on the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel amid free speech concerns, the Senate voted 72-24 tonight to advance the Combating BDS Act, its sixth procedural vote on the bill before final passage later this week.
With the government shutdown out of the way, Republicans finally secured enough Democratic support to advance the anti-BDS bill last week as part of a broader Middle East legislative package. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., then added a nonbinding amendment warning the Donald Trump administration against a “precipitous withdrawal” from Syria and Afghanistan, resulting in today’s procedural vote.
The path is now clear for final passage later this week, forcing the House to take a stance on an issue that has divided Democrats. Notably, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., joined the majority of expected 2020 presidential contenders in voting against the legislation. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., supported the bill.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., indicated last week that he would refer the Combating BDS Act to an unspecified committee before holding a floor vote. That suggests the controversial legislation could hold up the broader legislative package – the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act – in the lower chamber.
- Bryant Harris