Senators on Thursday rejected a push by Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulRepublicans question Trump's trip to Scotland Hate TV customer service? So does your senator Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE to tie a battle over accepting refugees in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks to an ObamaCare repeal bill.
Senate rejects Paul's crackdown on refugees
Senators voted 10-89 on the amendment from the Kentucky Republican, who is running for president. Sixty votes were needed for the amendment to be adopted.
Republicans Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP senator: Obama ‘believes he is above the law’ Republican senator expects Trump will 'embrace' GOP platform Sunday shows preview: Bernie soldiers on MORE (Wyo.), Ted CruzTed CruzTrump: Cruz, Kasich shouldn't speak at convention without endorsement Colorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open O'Malley gives Trump a nickname: 'Chicken Donald' MORE (Texas), Mike EnziMike EnziJudd Gregg: The silver lining Judd Gregg: A little change Lobbying World MORE (Wyo.), Mark KirkMark KirkDuckworth settles retaliation lawsuit The Trail 2016: Berning embers Senate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game MORE (Ill.), Mike LeeMike LeeWaterways bill eyed as solution for Flint No reason why women shouldn't be drafted Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE (Utah), Jerry MoranJerry MoranSenate panel approves lifting Cuba travel ban Boost in Afghan visas blocked in Senate Senate contradicts itself on Gitmo MORE (Kan.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump hopes for boost from Brexit vote GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Sessions warns of 'radical' Clinton immigration policy MORE (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), David VitterDavid VitterFed chairwoman blasts Trump on debt Senate campaign posts private conversation on Facebook Rand Paul endorses in La. Senate race MORE (La.) and Paul supported the amendment.
Paul's amendment would place a "pause" on issuing visas to more than 30 countries that the senator said are "at a high risk for exporting terrorists."
It would also require that individuals from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program to either wait 30 days before coming to the United States or go through enhanced background and security checks, as well as requiring the government to perform additional screening on any admited refugees.
"We spend hundreds of billions of dollars defending our country, and yet we cannot truly defend our country unless we defend our border," the Kentucky Republican said ahead of the vote. "I would urge senators who truly do want to defend our country to have increased border security by voting for this amendment."
But Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.) slammed Paul's proposal, saying that it makes us "look like we're cowering in our shoes."
"I hate to say this about my good friend from Kentucky, but this is a bumper sticker kind of amendment. It says to keep us secure, it would stop even tourists from visiting this country for at least 30 days."
Lawmakers have struggled with how to tackle the administration's plan to increase the number of refugees in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.
While House Republicans — and dozens of Democrats — backed legislation that would "pause" the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the administration can certify that they aren't a national security threat, Senate Democrats have vowed to block the legislation in the upper chamber.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats, along with Republican Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeMcConnell quashes Senate effort on guns Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote Senate Republicans may defy NRA on guns MORE (R-Ariz.), have introduced legislation aimed at bolstering the Visa Waiver Program, though Republicans are divided on how far changes to the legislation should go.