Democrats pressure GOP to end government shutdown

Cheryl Sanders
January 10, 2019

Last week, seven House Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats on a package of appropriations bills that reopened most of government without funding the wall, a number that could have been higher but for personal intervention by Vice President Pence, who called a number of Republicans to urge them to vote "no" on the Democrats' bills.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, consolidates four bills that did not make it through Congress past year.

Senate Republicans' first bill of the new Congress was meant to insert the legislative branch into US President Donald Trump's Middle East policy - but also to drive a wedge between centrist and liberal Democrats over attitudes toward Israel.

"We must stand firm against the profoundly biased campaign to delegitimise the state of Israel", Republican Senator Cory Gardner told Senators on Tuesday, describing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as "vile" and "anti-Semitic".

WASHINGTON - A bill that would codify a defense memorandum of understanding with Israel and support state and local efforts to combat the BDS movement failed to proceed in the Senate on Tuesday, stalled by Democrats who insist on reopening the government before passing any nonessential legislation. The Republicans need 60 votes.

The ACLU disagreed, calling on Rubio to "reconsider" the bill, which it said "makes a mockery of the First Amendment".

The vote was 240-188, with eight Republicans joining with Democrats to pass the bill.

"I nearly never use these types of procedures, but this is extraordinary to be meeting like this while a good part of the government is shut down", Cardin said Monday in an interview.

House Democrats passed a bill to reopen the IRS and Treasury Department, pressuring Republicans to break from President Donald Trump and end the partial government shutdown without funding the president's $5.7 billion request for a border wall.

The BDS movement is a global boycott of all things Israeli in order to end worldwide support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with worldwide law. However, those laws have already been challenged in the courts, even in the most Republican-friendly states like Kansas and Arizona.

Twenty-six U.S. states have passed anti-BDS laws in the state legislatures, often by large, bipartisan majorities.

"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 tweeted.

In mind, specifically, are those entities that support the BDS movement - short for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - a movement that advocates an worldwide boycott of Israel until the sovereign nation acquiesces to pro-Palestine, anti-Israel policies.

Specifically, Tlaib is referring to legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he intends to prioritize in the new congressional session.

"He knows that nobody in the Senate Democratic caucus supports boycotting Israel".

"It's an insult to the families of all of those victims of crime (and) the opioid crisis, which is so real in nearly every community in this country", he told reporters. In fact, some of these state bills have been struck down.

"While Democrats continue to play politics with border security, federal employees dedicated to their mission of keeping America safe and our border secure are still going to work knowing they will be missing their paychecks", Gibbs said in a statement.

Consider that one year ago, Pew Research polled Americans' attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians.

Other reports by iNewsToday