House Democrats Push for No Ban Act as White House Threatens Veto Over Coronavirus

Demonstrators listen to speakers during a rally outside the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday Jan 28, 2020, in Richmond, Va. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries is going back before a federal appeals court. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

House Democrats are pushing for the passage of a bill rescinding President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, even as Republican House leaders and the White House argue the bill could impede the government’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, known by its acronym as the No Ban Act, is scheduled to come to the floor of the Democrat-controlled House on Thursday (March 12), when lawmakers will vote on the ban for the first time since it was enacted over three years ago.

“Muslim bans are not who we are as Americans,” Rep. Judy Chu, who introduced the bill last year, said on a call with reporters. “They hurt families and hurt our national security, and we must stop this president from overextending his authority and banning people from entire countries simply because of their religion. This cruel ban continues to needlessly tear families apart and cause misery and psychological trauma.”

The No Ban Act would repeal all iterations of the ban, constrict a president’s ability to “suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States” and prevent “religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as whether to issue an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, with certain exceptions.” The bill has 219 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats. An identical bill in the Senate has 40 co-sponsors.

The bill does include an exception for responses to safety or public health issues such as COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Still, Republican officials have linked the bill to the novel coronavirus this week, arguing that it would impede the president’s ability to respond quickly to such threats.

The White House warned that Trump’s advisers would recommend he veto the bill if it lands on the president’s desk.

“This legislation would limit the President’s authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States when he determines such action to be in the national interest,” the president’s executive office said in a statement released Tuesday (March 10). “Notably, the President’s authority to restrict travel into the United States has been central to the Administration’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the American people against the spread of COVID-19.”

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have both called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pull the bill from consideration this week.

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Source: Religion News Service

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