GOP Strategy Emerges in Amendment to Yemen Bill

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A successful House Republican effort to amend a Democratic bill limiting U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen signals how Republicans may plan to use their limited minority powers in the chamber.

Republicans proposed adding an amendment denouncing anti-Semitism to the Yemen legislation the same week that comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) were widely criticized as anti-Semitic. Ms. Omar has apologized, but the public reversal put Democrats on the defensive and gave Republicans an opening.

Democrats ultimately supported the amendment as well. Republicans were quick to celebrate their ability to add the amendment through the “motion to recommit” procedure — and briefly disrupt the passage of the legislation. Most Republicans then voted against the Yemen bill, which included the anti-Semitism measure.

“They were trying to embarrass us, and they played a game,” said Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland. “And when the game didn’t work, they decided, well we’re not going to vote for our amendment.”

The Wednesday maneuvering could signal Republicans’ future tactics. They gambits are unlikely to have any legislative effect. But they could feed efforts, especially on Israel, where Republicans believe they are gaining an upper hand because of controversial comments of Democratic lawmakers such as Ms. Omar.

“Republicans NEVER lost a [motion to recommit] vote in the majority. It’s been a month and a half and Democrat leadership have already lost all of their members on this,” wrote a spokeswoman for Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican. “Buckle up… .”

Write to Andrew Duehren at andrew.duehren@wsj.com.

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