US Democrats block anti-refugee bill in the Senate

Published January 21st, 2016 - 10:13 GMT

Democrats at the US Senate have blocked a Republican-backed legislation against entry of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the country, PressTV reports.

The senators voted 55-43 on Wednesday, while 60 yes votes were needed for the legislation to pass.

All the GOP senators voted for the bill along with only two Democrats at the 100-member Senate.

The bill would stipulate high-level officials to guarantee that every single refugee entering the United States from the conflict-ridden region has been checked and poses no security threat.

Republicans argue that the bill is essential for the country's national security following 2015's deadly attacks by Daesh in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

"This bipartisan bill would allow Washington to step back, take a breath and ensure it has the correct policies and security screenings in place," Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the Senate before the vote.

Democrats, on the other hand, cite humanitarian reasons among other things for displaced people as the reason to block the bill.

"We need to talk about efforts to defeat [Daesh], not creating more paperwork for cabinet secretaries," Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, told reporters ahead of the vote.

Syrian refugees already have to go through 18 to 24 months of screening before entry.

Syria and Iraq have been severely hit by Daesh attacks since 2011.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material

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