House passes bill that doesn’t do much; Senate says it’s dead on arrival there
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 20, 2015
Update: According to The Hill, top administration officials couldn’t get support from large number of Dems following briefing.
If you are looking for me to have the definitive word this morning on what has happened in the last week and where we go from here, I don’t have it. A week ago Thursday, at the request of ACT for America, Don Barnett and I participated in a briefing of Hill staffers on the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program and then Friday night hell broke loose in Paris. In 7 days the refugee resettlement program has been completely turned on its head in a way I could never have imagined this time last week.
Over 30 governors have said ‘NO’ to Syrian resettlement, so federal resettlement contractors who are ‘welcoming’ Syrians now on a daily basis are in turmoil trying to figure out where to send them.
The House Judiciary Committee has held its first serious hearing on the program since before 9/11 and the full House has passed the only bill maybe since 1979 (when the law creating this program passed both houses) that seeks in any way to control the monstrosity that the program has become.
And, to top it off, talk-radio and cable news are talking about refugees 24/7! Can I retire now?
All of that is to say, I need to sort through the news, so much of which you are getting faster than me because Drudge is on top of it (Drudge even posted one of my posts on Somali refugees—don’t forget there are hundreds of Somalis coming into the US every month!).
That said, this is a good summary of the House action from Leo Hohmann at World Net Daily who has made this issue a top priority in his reporting since at least July 2014 (when we first posted on his work). Emphasis below is mine:
The House voted Thursday to approve a bill that would require a new “certified” screening process for refugees coming from Iraq and Syria, but the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, says Minority Leader Harry Reid, and some conservatives are saying the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough in keeping America safe.
The House vote was 289-137 and included 47 Democrats, just two votes shy of enough to override a presidential veto.
“[The American SAFE Act] is simply putting a pause on the Syrian refugee program until we can be assured … they can be properly vetted and background checks can be done before they are brought in,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Also, we require certification by the secretary of Homeland Security, FBI director and director of national intelligence. I think this is a very measured, well-balanced bill.”
Two Republicans voted against the bill: Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Steve King, R-Iowa, likely because the bill doesn’t go far enough in their eyes.
Critics have said the proposed law wouldn’t stop a single Islamic refugee from entering the U.S. And there are much tougher bills sitting in committees, including Rep. Brian Babin’s HR 3314, which would stop all refugee resettlement until the Obama administration can give a full accounting of the costs and national security risks.
“Speaker Paul Ryan is trying to protect Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement programs today by passing a bill that only ‘pauses’ the program instead of stopping it,” said William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. “Also, Ryan’s bill is based on the false premise that refugees from Muslim countries can be adequately vetted when they can’t, as Sen. Jeff Sessions is pointing out.”
The legislation will now go to the Senate, where it may face a tougher path to passage.
Reid, D-Nev., vowed to block the House bill if it is considered by the upper chamber after the Thanksgiving recess.
When asked about the prospect of Obama vetoing the legislation, Reid said, “Don’t worry, it won’t get passed. Next question?”
WND reported earlier this week that Ryan was lining up a “meaningless show vote,” quoting a senior staffer on Capitol Hill. That’s exactly what happened, with a vote allowing Ryan and the GOP to sound tough on ISIS without providing any real teeth because the legislation still depends on the Obama administration to “certify” that every refugee is not a terrorist.
This is impossible, critics such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., say, because many of the refugees have clean backgrounds and become radicalized after they arrive in the U.S.
Continue reading here, there is much more!
Ryan: We won’t take Syrian Christians first!
The day before the vote, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear that Christian Syrians would not be given preference over the mostly Sunni Muslim Syrians being admitted right now, here at the Huffington Post. (By the way, I could argue that with an arrival rate of 98% Muslim, that we are giving preference to Sunni Muslims for admission to the US!).
Find our here if your “faith group” is backing Obama in his Syrian Muslim resettlement efforts.
Rep. Bridenstine and others propose a bill to cut the funding, here. I don’t know the future of efforts to bring the issue to a head on the FY2016 government funding measure that Congress must pass by December 11. But, here is news from before the vote that such an efforts was being prepared in the House.
In addition to the Oklahoma representative Bridenstine, the other three warriors on this effort were/are:
Joining Bridenstine were Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Lamar Smith of Texas and Brian Babin of Texas.
Will try to get more news from Washington in the coming days…..
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