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Published On: Thu, Nov 19th, 2015

Democrats join GOP in House to pass bill to screen Syrian refugees

The House easily passed a bill Thursday that would suspend the migration program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

The vote was 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining 242 Republicans in favor of the bill, creating a majority that could override President Barack Obama’s promised veto. It also faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Minority Leader Harry Reid said he will try to block the bill.

“The problem is not with refugees,” Reid said. “I don’t think we’ll be dealing with it over here.”

When asked about the prospect of Obama vetoing the legislation, Reid said, “Don’t worry, it won’t get passed. Next question?”

The high number of Democrats voting against the White House is a clear sign Obama is increasingly isolated in his position on refugees in light of the ISIS terrorist attacks on Paris.

Obama has offered a forceful defense of the program and attacked Republican opponents as being scared of “widows and orphans” despite United Nations data which points to the majority of “refugees” as twenty-something, healthy men.

Syrian rebels firing missiles at government soldiers photo FreedomHouse via Flickr

Syrian rebels firing missiles at government soldiers photo FreedomHouse via Flickr

“We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” Obama said in the Philippines on Wednesday. “We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Republicans were determined to move quickly. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters “this is urgent. We cannot and should not wait to act, not when our national security is at stake.”

The administration’s veto threat “baffles me,” Ryan said, “especially given the fact that his own law enforcement top officials came to Congress and testified that there are gaps in this refugee program.

Obama administration officials have been lobbying Democrats to oppose the measure.

“The United States has always been and should always be a place of refuge,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty.”

“We face a choice that will echo through history,” said Nadler, who reminded lawmakers that the U.S. turned away Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939. “We must not let ourselves be guided by irrational fear.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said he would vote against a spending bill that doesn’t contain provisions halting the refugee program.

“I think that we have to exert maximum leverage,” Salmon told The Hill.

Newsweek Muslim Rage cover

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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