Senate Democrats block Syrian refugee screening bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.