Syria Sanctions Bill in Senate Could Stall Over Shutdown Fight

Posted January 12, 2019

According to a press statement by the Institute For Middle East Understanding (IMEU), the bill would have also codified into law $38 billion in defense assistance for Israel over 10 years and would protect states and local governments that pass laws punishing individuals and companies who endorse the boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel in support of Palestinian human rights. "A partisan tantrum being prioritized over the public interest".

The Jewish Democratic Council of America supported the Senate Democrats on the vote, tweeting shortly after that they are "right to insist on reopening the government and ending the #Trumpshutdown".

The primary objective of Democrats moving the individual appropriations bills is messaging, as Trump has already made clear he will not support the piecemeal approach to reopening government agencies.

"Our position is there is a crisis on our southern border, we've been negotiating to open the government and address that border crisis, we're also taking steps to mitigate the effects of the shutdown", Pence told reporters at a briefing Monday. They instead want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to take up spending legislation passed by the House last week that would reopen nine agencies and departments that have been closed since December 23.

Vice President Mike Pence said Democrats were "unwilling to even negotiate" an end to shutdown and the standoff over President Donald Trump's desire for a border barrier. "They know that a solution will need to be palatable to House Democrats and Senate Republicans alike". "Yet many of these same Senators have announced that today they will vote to block our bill to do just that".

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., agreed that reopening the government is the main priority but added that the bill itself is an affront to the First Amendment.

"They forgot what country they represent", posted Tlaib after GOP leaders stopped legislation that would punish USA companies that boycott Israel. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality.

Republicans increased their Senate majority to 53 to 47 in November's elections, but they still needed at least seven Democratic "yes" votes for the act to move ahead. "We're (being) taken away from organising and getting down to the substantive business, because we're trying to get government open for the American people", House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer told Reuters.

"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.

Democrats successfully filibustered, for the second time, a bill Thursday that would have strengthened US relationships in the Middle East while punishing the anti-Israel boycott movement. Marco Rubio's measure, called the "Combatting BDS Act".

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"You're missing the point".

Democrats say said their "no" votes are a response to the current partial government shutdown. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who represents thousands of furloughed government employees. It's not about which bill we're voting on.

"A lot of them agree with what I'm doing", he said.

Debra Shushan, APN's Director of Policy and Government Relations said, "Our country is suffering the impact of a government shutdown with no end in sight".

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