Senate procedural vote sets up debate over Trump travel ban

FILE PHOTO - In this Jan. 26, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the House and Senate GOP lawmakers at the annual policy retreat in Philadelphia. Many citizens of Muslim-majority countries affected by President Donald Trump’s curbs on travel to the United States say they were hardly surprised the restrictions rank among his first orders of business. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A procedural vote in the Senate on Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee sets up an extended debate over the president’s executive order barring refugees for at least four months and the direction of U.S. policy toward Russia.

Rex Tillerson needs the backing of 51 senators Monday evening to put his nomination on track for confirmation later this week in the Republican-led chamber.

Although many Democrats oppose Tillerson, they’ll need at least several Republicans to join them to derail the nomination.

That appears unlikely even after two of the Senate’s leading GOP voices on national security criticized Trump for failing to consult with key federal agencies before issuing the travel ban.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have tepidly endorsed Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s former CEO.

 

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