In a new move, House Republicans are preparing a discharge petition which would force a vote on a new bill which would allow local governments to issue penalties to entities siding with the “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” movement against Israel.
The BDS movement has gained growing popularity among younger Democrat lawmakers, and has received support from the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and others.
Republican lawmaker Steven Scalise called the move “appropriate legislation to counter the dangerous BDS movement,” condemning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, who he said “stood idly by as their colleagues made senseless anti-Semitic remarks.”
From The Hill:
House GOP lawmakers are launching a discharge petition to force a vote on Senate legislation that would allow state and city governments to penalize entities that seek to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.
The effort targeting the BDS movement is being led by Reps. David Kustoff(Tenn.) and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) along with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise(La.) and House Foreign Affairs ranking member Mike McCaul (Texas).
“The Senate responded quickly and decisively with appropriate legislation to counter the dangerous BDS movement, but Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring this bipartisan bill to the House Floor and House Democrats stood idly by as their colleagues made senseless anti-Semitic remarks,” Scalise said in a statement, referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
If a majority of the House backs the discharge petition, it would be subject to a vote on the floor. Republicans will need to get 21 Democrats to get to a majority, assuming every Republican backs it.
Some Democrats who oppose the BDS movement could feel pressure to back the measure, though signing a discharge petition is seen as an act of betrayal to the majority.
The discharge petition comes as Republicans have sought to put pressure on Democrats generally over the issue of Israel. The GOP has repeatedly sought to use controversial statements by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mich.), one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress, to divide Democrats.
McCaul said he believes they can garner the 218 signatures needed to force the vote, noting the measure overwhelmingly passed the upper chamber with bipartisan support.