House Passes Bill to Fund Agencies Amid Government Shutdown

Alex Brandon  AP

In their view, sending the individual bills to the Senate will ramp up pressure on Republicans, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he won't take up anything without the President's blessing.

First and foremost, it's a great messaging opportunity to highlight the differences between Democratic and Republican governing strategies.

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.

For now, the package will nearly certainly stall.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will oppose proceeding to the legislation, according to a senior aide who was unauthorized to speak publicly about the vote and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Without White House support, the spending measures floundered in the final days of a House that was then still under Republican control.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said the bills were uncontroversial and were broadly supported by Republicans in the past. "This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right and part of our historical fight for freedom and equality". As everyone who follows local, national, or worldwide politics knows, Davis lost her award because of pro-Israel interests that seem to rise up in coordinated opposition to anyone or any group that dares to utter a sympathetic word about Palestine, much less identify Israel as an apartheid state. A Woodstock-style concert was canceled and some companies stopped offering services in the West Bank settlements. The ACLU has filed suits against state laws requiring contractors to certify they are not participating in boycotts of Israel or the settlements.

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"But we will try again later this week", Rubio said. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) put the anti-BDS provision in S.1 at the center of the debate instead of the government shutdown.

Nevertheless, Democrats say they will block the bill until the government is re-opened. "Let's get those reopened while the negotiations continue".

Sen. Marco Rubio threw a rock at a political hornet's nest on Monday when he tweeted, "The shutdown is not the reason Senate Democrats don't want to move to Middle East Security Bill".

Sen. Rubio, however, argued that Democrats remain defiant toward his proposed legislation, because "a significant [number] of Senate Democrats now support BDS", and that leaders within the Democratic Party want to avoid a floor vote that would reveal their support for the BDS movement's discriminatory economic warfare against Israel.

Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the anti-BDS measure's inclusion in the wider bill "sends a message to Americans that they will be penalised if they dare to disagree with their government".

"This Israel anti-boycott legislation would give states a free pass to restrict First Amendment protections for millions of Americans".

The act is part of a wider Middle East policy bill, the first to be introduced by Senate Republicans in the new Congress which began on January 3. "Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.' This, it seems, is now also the position of a number of Democrats", Harsanyi charged. The legislation was supported by 56 out of 100 senators, while 60 votes were needed for further consideration of the bill.

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