WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats will try to force their GOP colleagues to vote on Donald Trump's most extreme policy proposals in the coming weeks, getting them on the record with their thoughts of the party's presidential front-runner.
"Senate Democrats are seeking opportunities to vote on amendments related to Trump this year, on whatever vehicle we see fit," a Democratic leadership aide said Tuesday.
The immediate focus will be to get senators to vote on Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
Last month, Republicans received a taste of this in the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) offered an amendment to a terrorism bill stating it was "the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded."
Seven Republicans joined Democrats and supported the amendment. But four GOP senators -- Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), David Vitter (La.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) by proxy -- voted against it.
One committee member who did support the amendment, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), visited a mosque the following day to counteract what he called "the isolated voices calling for division."
"This is something that divides Republicans," the Democratic leadership aide said. "Whether or not [Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)] wants to be putting his members in the position of voting on Trump ideas or not, that's his decision."
There's no guarantee that Democrats will be successful. McConnell has a few ways he could block these sorts of amendments, including barring Democrats from offering amendments, or simply not bringing up any legislation on which these amendments could be considered germane.
Senate Democrats have their annual retreat this week, where they're expected to discuss the Trump strategy.
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