Conservative pressure is mounting on new House Speaker Paul Ryan to block President Obama’s plan to allow up to 10,000 additional Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, GOP presidential candidates -- backed by conservative lawmakers and some governors -- are opposing the refugee resettlement plan out of fear the migrants could pose a terror threat.
Ryan said Monday that House GOP leaders were considering all options -- including blocking resettlement funds in a must-pass year-end spending bill. Ryan has tasked committee chairmen to make recommendations.
“We’ve always been a generous nation, taking in refugees, but this is a unique situation,” said Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, during a radio interview with conservative host Bill Bennett.
“We got to make sure we protect ourselves... making sure we’re not complicit or even facilitating of having someone come in who would come to do us harm from Syria,” Ryan said. “We’re trying to figure out what is the best legislative option we have to make sure we can prevent something like this from happening.”
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio called for a halt to Syrian refugees to the U.S.; Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee also pressed Ryan on Monday to stop the influx of migrants.
Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the U.S. should assist only Christian refugees. Several GOP governors said they would not accept refugees in their states.
Obama, speaking at the conclusion of a global summit in Turkey, defended his policy and warned his critics against “slamming the door” on migrants who are fleeing the civil war in Syria.
The administration admitted 1,600 Syrian refugees in the fiscal year that just ended in September, and wants to increase that to at least 10,000 this year.
In Congress, conservative lawmakers want to stop funding for the resettlement program as part of legislation to keep the government running past Dec. 11.
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions called for a complete accounting of the costs of the refugee program, and wants it voted on separately in Congress.
“We simply cannot risk our security by allowing thousands of Syrian refugees to settle here,” said Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)
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