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Senate Republicans Rip Democrats for Blocking Syrian Refugee Bill

Image: Senate Republicans Rip Democrats for Blocking Syrian Refugee Bill
Syrian refugees wait to be approved to get into Jordan. (Raad Adayleh/AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016 05:11 PM

Republicans lashed out at Senate Democrats Wednesday for blocking legislation that would crack down on Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S. and included a Democratic amendment backing Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the country.

"The facts are clear," said Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. "As of right now, the federal government does not have complete and adequate safeguards in place to protect Americans here at home as additional Syrian refugees are admitted into the U.S.

"We need to achieve a higher standard of safety, secure our borders, and keep out all terrorists," he said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the Democratic move made "it much harder for us to keep Americans safe. Their vote is irresponsible in a time of grave threats."

The bill, called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, failed on a 55-43 vote that would have brought it to the floor for debate.

The House passed the legislation 289-137 in November in the wake of the Paris attacks. Forty-seven Democrats supported the bill. It would have required new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from three high-ranking federal officials before any refugee from Syria or Iraq could come to the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday accused Republicans of refusing to allow Democrats to offer amendments, including the Muslim ban that would have forced GOP members to take sides against Trump in an election year.

Republicans bashed the effort to link the bill to the Republican front-runner.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said the move was "ridiculous," The Hill reports.

He accused Democrats of trivializing the refugee issue "by bringing the circus to town on the floor of the Senate.

"I hate to see the Democratic leader try to trivialize this very important national security debate and discussion by injecting presidential election politics right in the middle of this," Cornyn said.

Democrats fired back, suggesting GOP leaders rejected Reid's deal because they were afraid of taking on their party's presidential front-runner.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin was among many party members who charged that Republicans were afraid to square off against Trump.

"When we offer them a chance to vote on another statement by Republican presidential nominee Mr. Trump ... they run like scalded cats," Durbin said, according to the Hill.

Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Trump's leading rivals for the presidential nomination, blasted the Democrats on Twitter:



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Republicans lashed out at Senate Democrats Wednesday for blocking legislation that would crack down on Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S. and included a Democratic amendment backing Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the country.
senate, republicans, rip, democrats, blocking, syrian, refugee, bill
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2016-11-20
Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016 05:11 PM
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