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Conservative Republicans try to force vote on Israel aid

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Conservative Republicans launched what they called a “sneak attack” on the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, angling to force a vote on the House-passed Israel aid bill.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) moved to proceed to the House’s bill, and Democrats were unable to stop him because there was no current business before the Senate. That allowed the GOP to move to the House’s Israel bill, which Democrats do not support because it contains cuts to the IRS.

For several minutes, Democrats refused to let Republicans speak — tying the Senate floor up in knots. Democrats then held a vote to table the Israel bill to clear the way to pass the House’s government funding bill before the Nov. 18 shutdown deadline.

“Every member of the Senate should go on the record here,” Marshall said. “I’d call it a sneak attack.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) was speaking ahead of the episode, when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) whispered to Kennedy about the impending maneuver. Kennedy quickly wrapped up his remarks and yielded to Marshall, who then made his move. Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) then objected to GOP senators’ efforts to speak.

Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who presided over the messy and confusing episode, said Democrats were not going to budge.

“They think they can wear down Patty Murray. That’s an impossible ambition. And she told me she was a preschool teacher, so she can handle these guys,” Welch said.