Senate

Senate Dems plan to force vote on Trump’s Muslim ban

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Senate Democrats are planning to try to force votes on some of Donald Trump’s most controversial campaign promises, including a ban on Muslims entering the country.  

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Senate Republicans should have to vote on the GOP presidential front-runner’s policies after they’ve refused to say they wouldn’t support Trump if he wins their party’s nomination. 
 
{mosads}”These votes will give all Senators a chance to take a stand on the policy issues dominating the public debate — and Republicans a chance to stand with the frontrunner for their nomination,” the Democratic leader said Thursday in a statement. 
 
It’s unclear when Democrats will try to force the votes or what legislation they will use to advance the measures. Reid, however, added that finding time for the votes “can be done easily and efficiently under an open amendment process, with no interference to the light workload Senate Republican leaders have announced for 2016.” 
 
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly stressed that his priority for 2016 is going through the “regular order” of the appropriations process. That will require the Senate to pass 12 individual appropriations bills rather than one large omnibus bill, as has become commonplace in recent years.
 
Asked about Reid’s comments, McConnell warned that Republicans could also bring up amendments that would put Democrats in an awkward spot with their presidential candidates. 
 
“It’s worth noting that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and so you could expect amendments that they might not like related to the Sanders or Clinton campaigns,” he told reporters. 
 
“But as a general rule, what I’ve tried to ask the Senate to do is let the presidential candidates run their race, and let’s try to do the people’s business.”
 
While Senate Republicans broadly dismissed Trump’s push to ban Muslims from entering the country and have shown no signs of affection for Trump, they’ve also been reluctant to completely alienate him or his supporters. 
 
The votes could put a handful of GOP senators running for reelection in Democratic-leaning states in a tough spot. Republicans are defending 24 total Senate seats in November. 
 
Reid released the remarks as congressional Republicans gathered in Baltimore for their annual policy retreat, with McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) expected to speak with reporters on Thursday afternoon. 
 
Four Republicans — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president — voted against a nonbinding proposal during a Judiciary Committee meeting late last year that would have specifically opposed a Trump-style ban that keeps a religious group from entering the country.
 
Phil Novack, Cruz’s spokesman, said at the time that the amendment, from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),  boiled down to a “political stunt.” 
 
– Updated at 2:10 p.m.
Tags Donald Trump Harry Reid Mitch McConnell Patrick Leahy Paul Ryan Ted Cruz
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