House leadership has pulled legislation from the floor that would have repealed President Trump’s prior travel bans, amid efforts to focus attention on a coronavirus response bill, Fox News has learned.
Democrats made the decision late Wednesday to delay a vote on the No Ban Act to make way for new legislation to help families affected by the virus, said Benjamin Suarato, spokesman for bill sponsor Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. That bill is in limbo amid GOP opposition.
The House, meanwhile, had debated the legislation on Wednesday that was the Democrats’ response to Trump's crackdown that he pledged during the 2016 campaign and that materialized into various travel bans on countries in Muslim-majority regions and beyond.
Since the House already debated and passed a procedural rule on the bill, the No Ban Act can return to the floor after next week’s recess, Suarato said.
The bill was pulled after House Republicans this week urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to shelve the legislation due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Republicans say the No Ban Act, which would rescind the controversial travel ban of several majority-Muslim-countries, would hinder the president’s ability to mitigate the spread of the virus in the U.S.
“Democrats could not have picked a worse week to try to undermine American travel restrictions,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on the House floor Wednesday. “President Trump’s quick decision to restrict travel to countries like Iran and China was a smart response and it is helping keep America safe.”
GOP Rep. Steve Scalise noted there is a large outbreak of the virus in Iran, which is part of the travel ban.
“With this outbreak of coronavirus, the president…needs to have all the tools available to limit people coming in from countries with a high propensity of coronavirus, and you wouldn't want legislation that would make it more difficult,” he said in a news conference.
The first iteration of the travel ban was signed into law by executive order soon after the president took office in 2017 and included Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.
The ban was expanded earlier this year to include Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Trump on Wednesday announced a separate 30-day ban on travel from Europe where the virus has spread extensively.