U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham is being pressed by national Republicans to become the first Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives to support a particular piece of pro-Israel legislation.
The bill – H.R. 336 – is dubbed the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.” However, according to its staunchest supporter – congressman Lee Zeldin of New York – the real goal of the legislation is to “combat the anti-Israel (and) anti-Semitic hate infiltrating US politics, college campuses, the halls of Congress (and) elsewhere.”
The push to get a vote on this bill comes amid several recent scandals involving allegedly anti-semitic statements made by Democratic members of congress.
“Joe Cunningham (has) the opportunity to stand up to the rabid anti-semites in his caucus,” one national GOP source told us, referencing a discharge petition for the pro-Israeli bill. “Will he sign it, or cower to the bigots in his party?”
For those of you unhip to parliamentary procedure, a discharge petition is simply a method of advancing a piece of legislation to the floor of the House.
Assuming 218 members of the Democratic-controlled chamber (a simple majority) were to sign the petition, it would require the legislation to go to the floor for a vote – potentially putting some Democrats in an awkward spot. Signing a discharge petition does not necessarily mean one supports a bill – it merely means a lawmaker believes it has sufficient merit to receive a vote.
Is there a difference? Eh … probably not in our hyper-partisan climate.
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So far, no Democrats have signed the discharge petition for H.R. 336 – and it seems exceedingly unlikely the 218-vote threshold will be reached.
That is not the point, though … the point is to force Cunningham (the GOP’s top takeover target in 2020) into a position where it appears as though he is siding with his liberal leaders against the all-powerful Jewish lobby. Thus, ideally, taking some of the luster off of his “Lowcountry over Party” schtick – not to mention opening up a potentially massive fundraising stream for his eventual Republican opponent in the Palmetto State’s first congressional district race next fall.
Arrington has yet to say whether she will run again in 2020, while second-term state representative Nancy Mace – another top tier prospect – appears to be “all in” (and already drawing fire). Meanwhile, former GOP gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton – who has said she is not running – continues to be courted by national GOP donors who are unsatisfied with the current crop of candidates.
Stay tuned … given the competitiveness of this district we will obviously continue to keep a watchful eye on the various machinations related to the upcoming showdown.
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