WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate committee on Thursday rebuked Donald Trump by endorsing a measure that says barring individuals from entering the United States based on religion would be un-American.
The Republican presidential front-runner has called for blocking Muslims from entering the country in the aftermath of attacks in the United States and abroad.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-4 for the nonbinding amendment pushed by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the panel’s top Democrat. The four Republicans who opposed it included GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz was not present but voted by proxy, as is regular practice when lawmaker cannot attend a committee vote.
Among the 16 backing the measure was the committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who faces re-election next year.
The language was added to an unrelated bill on nuclear terrorism. Leahy said the amendment sends “a clear and direct message that America welcomes people from all countries of all faiths.”
The amendment states that “it is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded.”
In addition to Cruz, Republicans voting against the amendment were Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, David Vitter of Louisiana and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Sessions spoke for more than 10 minutes opposing the language, saying it was overly broad and could hamper immigration authorities’ ability to screen applicants on religious issues.
Tillis said he opposed the amendment because it could slow down passage of the nuclear terrorism bill. Vitter, who was not present, also voted by proxy.
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