Posted: 9:55 pm Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
Despite strong Republican opposition, both in Congress and from various Governors, the White House on Tuesday publicly reiterated that it plans to allow in up to 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, as officials vowed to closely review those refugees for any terrorist links.
“We’ll make every effort to vet every refugee coming into this country,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told lawmakers in a House hearing.
But those assurances fell flat with Republicans, who argued even one mistake could lead to terrorist attacks, and American deaths.
FBI director Comey says he doesn't believe we can fully vet all of the refugees from Syria – very little info on many of them
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) November 17, 2015
“What we need to do is secure the border,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). “We need to suspend the transfer of those refugees over here.”
“This is a moment where it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, who told fellow Republicans in a morning meeting that there would be a vote later this week in the House on a plan to suspend the admission of Syrian refugees.
The White House made its own social media push on Tuesday, urging Democrats to stick with the President, arguing that enough checks are in place.
We will continue welcoming Syrian refugees after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks. https://t.co/hAIm4JlLNk
— WH National Security (@NSCPress) November 17, 2015
But the backlash among GOP Governors and lawmakers in Congress seemed to have the Obama Administration a bit on the defensive, as one top communications aide was trying to put out fires related to the over two thousand Syrians who have already been re-settled in the United States.
reports that 10,000 Syrian refugees have recently resettled in New Orleans are false. real #=14 Syrian refugees resettled in New Orleans
— Jen Psaki (@Psaki44) November 17, 2015
But Republicans were in no mood to hear Obama Administration explanations that rigorous checks would be done on those who might come to the U.S.
“I represented Oklahoma City during the Murrah bombing in 1995,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), who said it was time for a pause in Syrian refugees.
“I’ve seen what can happen at home; and I love my constituents too much to let that happen,” Lucas told me.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.