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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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 McHenryMnuchin expresses concerns about proposed taxes on financial trades Fed's top regulator takes heat from both parties NC rep explores Tillis primary challenge 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 NealOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices 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 MassieThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (Ky.) and Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash says he will vote in favor of articles of impeachment House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 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.