Senate Democrats blocked new sanctions on Syria, saying they won't vote to consider the penalties until the GOP-led chamber takes up legislation to open closed government agencies. Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, it was a bull-headed president's determination to "govern by temper tantrum" at the expense of the American people, particularly the furloughed workers who stand to miss a scheduled paycheck if the government remains shut down Friday.
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. Marco Rubio's measure, called the "Combatting BDS Act". "I don't anticipate him changing his position here, I think he's going to hold tough".
Some Republicans accused Democrats of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, which they see as anti-Semitic. As everyone who follows local, national, or global 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.
While announcing the legislation, Gibbs and his co-sponsors laid the blame for the shutdown squarely on the shoulders of their Democratic colleagues. On Saturday, Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Senator for the state of Maryland, wrote on his Twitter page that the Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bill unrelated to opening the government.
Meadows also proposed a separate bill that would allow federal employees to make withdrawals from their Thrift Savings Plan accounts during a government shutdown.
That means that the Democratic bills could go nowhere in the end, but several Democrats said Monday that they would not back down on their approach or give in to Trump's demands for money for his wall, and instead would continue to push legislation to reopen the bulk of government while setting aside the fight over the wall.
In support of Israel, Rubio's bills would affirm the legal authority of state and local governments to restrict contracts and take other actions against those "engaged in BDS conduct".
Tlaib responded to Rubio by clarifying that her "they" referred to "U.S. Senators like yourself, who are seeking to strip Americans of their Constitutional right to free speech". According to Rubio, Democrat leaders are trying to avoid a vote on his bill because it would expose how many Democrat BDS supporters are now in the Senate.
Hours before the White House meeting, both sides remained dug in.
Wednesday's vote however received more votes from Republicans than the previous measure as some seek to reach a solution to the shutdown and come to an agreement on border security afterward. A coalition of civil liberties and liberal Jewish groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and J Street, was working to defeat the legislation, while the influential pro-Israel AIPAC supports it.
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