Senate Democrats blocked the first bill of the session which includes the controversial criminalization of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement.
The bill received a 56-44 vote, narrowly missing the 60 required votes to pass.
Senate Democrats say they will continue to block the bill until the government shutdown is brought to an end.
The Combating BDS Act would criminalize participation in the non-violent Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement which is designed to peacefully protest Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
Under the act, the U.S. government would have the power to sanction domestic businesses and organizations that express support for the movement.
Critics of the bill, including prominent Jewish legislators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein, argue that the bill violates First Amendment rights to free speech.
While it is certainly admirable that Senate Democrats have pledged to block the bill until the government reopens, it would be far more admirable for them to pledge to never pass the bill as long as it includes the Combating BDS Act.