The United States Senate failed to pass legislation on Wednesday. Jan. 20 regarding further screening requirements for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. The proposal would have put more background checks in place and would have required individual sign-offs from three high-ranking federal officials before any refugee from Syria or Iraq could come to the United States.
The bill would have paused the resettlement of refugees until the Obama administration could certify that they were no longer a significant threat to national security. The bill needed 60 votes to pass.
When it came time to vote, there was no agreement on how to handle additions to the bill from the Democrats, including one regarding presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. The final tally for the bill was 55 for and 43 against, which was five short of the three-fifths majority needed.
After the vote, Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) accused the Republicans of “pledg[ing] loyalty to Trump and his disgraceful policies.” He went on to say that “as the front-runner of the Republican nomination, Trump and his proposals are leading the public debate in our country.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republican senators raised concern about the difficulty in properly checking the refugees in question due to poor or non-existent record keeping. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in answer to the substantial number of Democrats who voted for the bill, said, “So it is any wonder that the citizens we represent are concerned? No wonder dozens of Democrats joined with Republicans to pass this balanced bill with a veto-proof majority over in the House.”
Should the vote had received the three-fifths majorityand passed, President Obama pledged in an earlier address to veto the bill.
Editor’s note: This story contains information from Politico.com, The Associated Press and The Hill.