Republicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language

Twelve House Democrats broke party ranks and voted in favor of a Republican motion to recommit that would have added language preventing companies that support the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” movement (BDS) from receiving tax subsidies to a bill related to retirement savings.

While the GOP’s attempts to amend the bill at the eleventh hour ultimately failed in a 200-222 vote on Thursday, there was an uptick in the number of Democrats willing to join them in utilizing the procedural tool. Democratic leaders had earlier this year called on their caucus to reject Republicans’ procedural motions as a blanket policy. 

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Democratic Reps. Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamHouse committee forwards bills to bar offshore drilling across US House committee forwards bills to bar offshore drilling across US Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (S.C.), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerCNN's Rye: U.S. will soon be running 'death camps' at the border CNN's Rye: U.S. will soon be running 'death camps' at the border Bipartisan bill would enable companies to defend themselves against cyberattacks MORE (N.J.), Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill MORE (Okla.), Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.), Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE (Va.) Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonWarren says she's open to decriminalizing sex work Warren says she's open to decriminalizing sex work 2020 Democrats share their families' immigration histories MORE (Mass.), Max RoseMax RoseGOP hopes dim on reclaiming House GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Republicans raise concerns over House campaign arm leadership MORE (N.Y.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinFreshman Democrats call on McConnell to hold vote on election reform bill Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA Seven key allies for Pelosi on impeachment MORE (Mich.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerGOP hopes dim on reclaiming House GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (Va.), Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewOn The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill On The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage push MORE (N.J.) and Susan WildSusan WildHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data House Democrats question DHS over using facial recognition tech on US citizens MORE (Pa.) all opted support the measure.

The amendment would have required pro-BDS businesses that are “engaged in boycott activity against Israel” to disclose their activity in their annual tax return.

Republicans have been aggressive in their messaging efforts on anti-Semitism, often highlighting controversial remarks made by members across the aisle that have been critical of U.S.-Israel relations.

“I stand here before the House today to get an affirmative vote that we stand together against the anti-Semitic notion of the BDS Movement. The boycott -- The BDS movement is an effort to weaponize the world's economy against one simple state — one state, the great state of Israel — and the Jewish people,” Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryHillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda On The Money: Trade chief defends Trump tariffs before skeptical Congress | Kudlow denies plan to demote Fed chief | Waters asks Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project On The Money: Trade chief defends Trump tariffs before skeptical Congress | Kudlow denies plan to demote Fed chief | Waters asks Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project MORE (R-N.C.) said on the floor.

“They are trying to weaponize our economy, our dollars against our only ally in the Middle East that's a democracy. This is an effort for us today to say that we'll stand against this movement.”

Democrats blasted the move as a political ploy to splinter the Democratic caucus.

"We know the drill on MTR's [motions to recommit], how they are being used to heap scorn on complicated arguments, the demagogue arguments that should be taken up in a separate space," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Fed opens door to rate cuts under pressure from Trump | Lawmakers, White House fail to reach budget deal | Democrats take aim at Trump policies with T spending bill | Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency On The Money: Fed opens door to rate cuts under pressure from Trump | Lawmakers, White House fail to reach budget deal | Democrats take aim at Trump policies with T spending bill | Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency Liberal group presses Democratic chairman to file lawsuit for Trump's tax returns quickly MORE (D-Mass.) shot back.  

"You know what else this is about? For those of us who came through the wards and precincts of American politics, there is a difference in politics between being cute and being clever. This is cute, this is not clever."

Two GOP members, Reps. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive House conservative's procedural protest met with bipartisan gripes MORE (Ky.) and Justin AmashJustin AmashHillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (Mich.), voted against the measure during the procedural vote.

Republicans have successfully utilized the tool — which allows them to force vulnerable members across the aisle to take difficult votes — twice this year, the first to amend a bill on Yemen to include language condemning anti-Semitism and a second time to amend a bill aimed at strengthening background checks on gun purchase to include language requiring that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) get notified when someone who entered the country illegally attempts to purchase a gun.