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Senate Democrats to Force Votes on Trump Proposals

Senate Democrats to Force Votes on Trump Proposals

By Tory Newmyer for Fortune

Donald Trump may not have to win the White House for the Senate to start voting on his agenda. Senate Democrats plan to force their Republican colleagues to take sides on the GOP presidential frontrunner’s most controversial proposals by offering them as amendments to other bills this year.

“Since Republican leaders in the House and Senate have pledged loyalty to Trump, the obvious next step is to vote on his policies, including his unconstitutional plan to bar people from entering the United States based on their religion,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a Thursday statement, referencing Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim entry to the U.S. following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. “These votes will give all Senators a chance to take a stand on the policy issues dominating the public debate—and Republicans a chance to stand with the frontrunner for their nomination.”

The not-so-subtle intent is to embarrass Republican Senators facing tough reelection fights in the fall by making them reckon with Trump’s most polarizing pronouncements. Vulnerable GOP incumbents in swing-states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Wisconsin could find the proposition especially uncomfortable. Reid didn’t indicate when Democrats would try to push the votes—though the annual process of assembling government-funding measures could provide an opportunity.

Reid’s gambit—call it legislative trolling—is nothing new. In even-numbered years, lawmakers set aside most serious policymaking work to focus on positioning themselves for the election. President Obama acknowledged as much in the opening lines of his State of the Union address on Tuesday, saying he understands “that because it’s an election season, expectations for what we’ll achieve this year are low.”

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