Republicans Call on Pelosi to Cancel Bill Rescinding Trump Travel Ban

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 5, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise spoke on behalf of Republican leadership on Tuesday, asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to rescind the 2017 travel ban.

Louisiana Republican Scalise called the No Ban Act “bad policy” that would not only make it more difficult to vet potentially dangerous entries but harm efforts to contain the global coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to reporters, he said:

I know there is one piece of legislation that’s scheduled for the floor this week that I would urge Speaker Pelosi to pull back on, and that is the No Ban Act. You saw at the very beginning of this, President Trump was able to take quick action when so many cases were coming out of China, and we still don’t know enough about the genesis of this disease in China and how it may have started there.

Unfortunately, they didn’t share enough information with us as quickly, where we could have done more things earlier. But at the same time, the president was able to take quick action to limit the number of people coming in from China that had exposure to coronavirus, but the No Ban Act would make it more difficult for the president to keep Americans safe by addressing needs as we see other countries like Iran — you’re seeing a large, potential large outbreak in Iran — Iran is one of those countries that we currently have a travel ban on because they don’t allow us to properly vet that terrorists aren’t coming into our country.

Scalise stressed the need for President Donald Trump to have the “tools available” to prevent American citizens from the increasing threat of the Wuhan-born contagion while the world waits for a vaccine:

The president ought to be able to keep potential terrorists from coming into our country, but now with this outbreak of coronavirus, the president also needs to have all the tools available to limit, people coming in from countries with a high propensity of coronavirus.

You wouldn’t want legislation that would make it more difficult. Hopefully, that bill gets pulled this week, but in the meantime, we need to continue to do all that we can to ensure that the administration has the tools they need, and we’re working together to inform the public, of the various precautions that they can take as we’re trying to find a vaccine.

The bill, sponsored by California Democrat representative Judy Chu, has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, who characterized it as a response to Trump’s racism. “Three years after the first Muslim ban, President Trump expanded his discriminatory Muslim ban, targeting more Black and brown immigrants and their families, employers, and educational institutions,” they said, continuing:

Congress took a huge step forward today, sending the message to the president and the country that Muslims and other communities of color are welcome here. Now that the bill has passed out of committee, we look forward to its swift passage in the House without any further changes. We must end these bans and prevent presidents from using rank prejudice to discriminate against Black and brown people.

The No Ban Act was introduced to the House on March 3. At the time of this writing, Pelosi has not responded to Scalise’s statement.

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