Senate Democrats block Syrian refugee bill

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) discusses the Syrian refuge crisis and the U.S. process repercussions on those refugees after the killings in Paris in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 17, 2015. Senate Democrats blocked a House bill Wednesday that added provisions to the U.S. vetting process for incoming refugees. Reid said Republicans didn't allow Democrats to offer amendments to the bill. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) discusses the Syrian refuge crisis and the U.S. process repercussions on those refugees after the killings in Paris in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 17, 2015. Senate Democrats blocked a House bill Wednesday that added provisions to the U.S. vetting process for incoming refugees. Reid said Republicans didn’t allow Democrats to offer amendments to the bill. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have blocked a House-passed bill that would crack down on Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans refused to allow Democrats to offer amendments to the bill. One of those could have put Republicans on the spot in an election year by forcing them to take sides for or against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump has called for barring Muslims from coming to the U.S.

The Senate fell short of the three-fifths needed to move ahead. The vote was 55-43.

The House legislation would require new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from three high-ranking federal officials before any refugee from Syria or Iraq could come to the United States.

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