Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

House Republicans Pushing For Vote On Anti-BDS Bill Despite Pelosi’s Block

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are joining in an effort to force a vote on a bill that targets Israel boycotters.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House’s second-ranked Republican, on Wednesday announced plans to force a rule change that would bring to the floor a broad Middle East policy bill. The law would protect U.S. states that penalize businesses that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. It already passed the Senate, but many Democrats have renounced it as an infringement of civil liberties.

“The House must follow the Senate’s lead and take immediate action to support our allies and combat the BDS movement that aims to delegitimize and economically isolate Israel,” Scalise said in a statement.

The broader bill includes codification of $38 billion in defense assistance for Israel, assistance for Jordan and new sanctions on Syria’s government — elements most Democrats support. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to break up the bill into its separate components to keep the anti-BDS language from coming to the floor.

Joining Scalise in launching the effort are Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the two Jewish Republicans in Congress, Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee.

Republicans need a majority of the House, or at least 218 members, to sign on to the request in order to force the floor vote. Scalise can count on all but two or three of the 197 Republicans and would have to get another 20 or so Democrats to sign on.

This is the latest in a flurry of Republican efforts to embarrass Democrats on Israel-related issues and part of an overall strategy to draw Jewish voters and donors away from the Democratic Party.

Many — but not all — Democrats object to the anti-BDS language, heeding civil libertarians, a key Democratic constituency, who say the penalties in the state laws targeting boycotters impinge on speech freedoms.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.