Carper Statement on Advancement of the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement after cloture was invoked on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S.1):

“It is unfortunate that a controversial measure has been included in an otherwise smart, bipartisan package to address important security issues in the Middle East. It is especially unfortunate since that measure – the Combating BDS Act of 2019 – is not necessary.

This bill is a solution in search of a problem. The Combating BDS Act of 2019 would ensure that Congress does not pass a law that keeps states and local governments from divesting from entities that engage in political or economic boycotts of Israel and Israeli settlements. However, Congress has never attempted to pass such a law. What’s more, we already have a law on the books that protects a person or entity’s right to make their voice heard through political and even economic boycotts: the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“A number of states already have anti-BDS measures on the books, and challenges to those measures on First Amendment grounds are working their way through the courts. Rather than attempting to preempt that process here in the Senate, it is my sincere hope that this controversial measure can be taken out of this package so that we can debate the merits of the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act on its own.”