In the immediate wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last November, the U.S. House of Representatives acted quickly. Responding to stateside national-security concerns and rumored links between refugees and terrorists, lawmakers swiftly passed a bill that would greatly limit Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the country. But now, just over two months later, those efforts have hit a wall.
After the legislation, known as the American SAFE Act, passed the House with 47 Democratic votes, its supporters hoped the Republican-led Senate would act in kind and approve the controversial legislation. One of the bill’s cosponsors, North Carolina’s Richard Hudson, said the lower chamber had come together “to respond to the will of the American people and do our primary job to keep them safe.” On Wednesday, though, the Senate voted against a motion to move the bill to a final vote. Senate Republicans needed six of their Democratic colleagues to back their cause—but couldn’t manage it.
Minority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor Wednesday morning ahead of the vote to decry the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, notably Donald Trump, as having an undue influence on lawmakers in Washington. “We should be focusing all our efforts on defeating our real enemy, the brutal, evil ISIS,” Reid said. “Yet, this bill the Republican leader is bringing to the floor scapegoats refugees who are fleeing war and torture instead of creating real solutions to keep Americans safe.”