Senate Democratic leaders are weighing whether to advance a controversial bill that would strengthen vetting standards for refugees coming from Iraq and Syria — but only to force Republicans to take tough amendment votes.
If leaders allow the measure to move forward, it won't be because Democrats back the bill. They largely oppose the legislation, arguing it would effectively shut down the nation’s refugee resettlement program, which came under heightened congressional scrutiny following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November.
But even while vowing that the bill won’t pass in its current form, Democratic leaders are considering helping Republicans to start debate on the legislation so they can pepper the GOP with amendments, both political and substantive, according to aides. And they'd still have another chance to filibuster the measure before any final vote to pass it.
"We don't know yet. We're still working on the position," said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). "I wouldn't call them Trump amendments, but there are a variety of amendments ... we need to talk it over."