Democrats in the United States Senate blocked legislation on Wednesday that would slow the amount of refugees entering the United States from Iraq and Syria. Voting ended at 55-43, with the number of “yes” votes missing the required mark of 60 needed for the measure to pass the Senate.
Only two Democrats supported the legislation, and all Republicans voted for the slowing of Syrian refugees into the country.
The bill would have put a halt to the entry of refugees into the country, and every refugee would have had to be verified by US officials in an attempt to ensure that they pose no security risks to the United States before entering. Tighter screening is essential for the safety of Americans, according to Republicans.
Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated before the Senate vote that the “bipartisan bill would allow Washington enough time to ensure that the correct policies and security measures were in place before taking in more refugees.”
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, three presidential hopefuls, all voted for the bill. Bernie Sanders did not vote.
Refugees currently need to wait 18 to 24 months before moving to the United States due to screening measures. President Barack Obama announced last year that he will allow 10,000 Syrians to enter the United States, far fewer than Europe and the Middle East.