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Friday, December 07, 2012

Surprise: J Street had nothing to do with Senate failure to shut PLO mission

On Wednesday night, I reported that under pressure from the Obama administration, the Senate had rejected an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have shut down the PLO's Washington mission. In the same post, I noted that J Street JINO's for 'Palestine' had taken credit for the amendment's defeat. Now, Alana Goodman reports that it was neither Obama nor J Street that brought about the amendment's defeat, but rather the US Senate's procedural rules.
The amendment was dropped from the bill because of a technicality in Senate procedure, according to Senator Lindsey Graham’s office, which sponsored it.
“Once cloture was invoked, the amendment was not eligible for a vote because it was not technically germane to the legislation,” said Graham spokesperson Kevin Bishop.
Bishop added that Graham “will continue to explore opportunities for passing the legislation.”
More than 400 amendments were filed on the defense authorization bill and debated for days.
More than half of them were dropped, either because they were considered technically non-germane (like the amendment to close the PLO mission) or overly contentious (the Obama administration threatened to veto the bill if certain provisions were included). Typically, there is a lot of conflict over the defense authorization bill, but this year it passed easily through unanimous consent, largely because amendments that may have raised objections were taken out. Senators were eager to rush this thing out the door and focus on the fiscal cliff debate.
Was this because of J Street? I’m sure that’s what J Street would like people to believe. In fact, the amendment was one of hundreds that disappeared because of a procedural technicality or administration objection. “Mystery” solved.

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