US Senate Rejects Bill on Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

News ID: 977418 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Lawmakers in the US Senate blocked a bill that would have made it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the country.

The 55-43 vote on Wednesday came after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sought approval of a handful of amendments, including one on Donald Trump's push to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

Republicans ripped the attempt to link the bill to the GOP presidential candidate. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the effort “ridiculous” and said Democrats were 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, The Hill reported.

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

"When we offer them a chance to vote on another statement by Republican presidential nominee Mr. Trump ... they run like scalded cats," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, missed the vote, as did Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The refugee legislation, which passed the House late last year, would "pause" the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the US until the Obama administration certifies that they aren't a national security threat. Sixty votes were needed to move forward.

President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) slammed Senate Democrats, calling their decision to block the legislation "irresponsible."

"Our approach balances security and compassion, and it was backed by a veto-proof majority in the House," he said

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