A proposal by North Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson to suspend admitting Syrian and Iraqi refugees failed in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon after Democratic lawmakers voted en bloc against it.
In a speech on the Senate floor hours before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., warned that members of his party would not support the refugee bill if certain concessions weren’t made to allow for amendments.
Democrats wanted language in the legislation affirming that the United States will not ban people from entering the country based on their religion. The amendment was an attempt by Reid and others to force Republican senators to disavow or support Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s suggestion that all Muslims be banned from entering the U.S.
The Trump-related amendment was one of four Reid proposed Wednesday. Another amendment he floated would have mandated that any terror suspect on the national “no-fly” list not be allowed to buy a gun.
The bottom line is Republicans and Democrats came together in the House in a veto-proof majority to protect our national security, but Senate Democrats won’t even entertain a serious debate.
Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.
Hudson, a Charlotte native and Concord resident, first introduced a bill last year that would stop refugee resettlement in the United States until additional security screenings were in place for asylum-seekers from Syria and Iraq. Later, his idea was folded into a more detailed bill written by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.
The McCaul-Hudson bill needed 60 votes Wednesday to proceed to a Senate vote. The amendments weren’t debated, and the bill, the American SAFE Act, failed in a procedural vote to move forward, with 55 senators for and 43 against.
North Carolina Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis aligned with others in their party to support the legislation.
After the vote, Hudson criticized Senate Democrats, saying they were “politicizing national security.” In a news statement, he said he and others were worried about potential national security “vulnerabilities” stemming from the way federal officials screened refugees.