Democrats set bills seeking to overturn Trump travel ban

Activists march to protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban in Portland, Oregon, U.S. January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. senators tried to force a vote on a bill to rescind President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations on Monday, but were blocked by a Republican lawmaker.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said she had 27 co-sponsors of a bill to rescind the order Trump signed on Friday, but under Senate rules it takes only one member to prevent a vote.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton blocked consideration of the measure.

It would have faced a difficult fight for passage in the Senate, where Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 52-48 seat majority.

Trump’s directive on Friday put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The president argues that his action will protect Americans, but critics say it illegally singles out Muslims, violating U.S. law, and defiles America’s historic reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants.

More than 160 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation in that chamber to defund and rescind Trump’s order. But that measure is unlikely to advance in the House, where Republicans hold a 240-193 seat advantage, larger than their advantage in the Senate.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis