Chad’s Morning Brief: Republicans Move to Halt Syrian Refugees and Obama Won’t Change Strategy Against ISIS
Republican Governors and candidates for President are calling for the halt of Syrian refugees into America. The Chad Hasty Show airs 8:30-11am on 790AM KFYO.
Republicans Look to Halt Refugees
According to POLITICO, Republican lawmakers are joining in with Governors and GOP candidates in looking to halt the move of Syrian refugees into America.
A growing chorus of key Capitol Hill Republicans is urging President Barack Obama to halt the resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States in the wake of the Paris terror attacks — and some lawmakers are threatening to use a must-pass spending bill next month to force the administration's hand on the issue.
The demands could significantly complicate the path toward the Dec. 11 deadline to pass the government-funding bill, raising the specter of a shutdown battle just before the end-of-year holiday season.
The calls are coming from Republicans in both chambers.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the leading immigration hardliner voices in the Capitol, sent a letter to colleagues calling for provisions in the omnibus spending bill that would give Congress more oversight over Syrian refugees.
“Our track record on screening is very poor. My [immigration] subcommittee has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the United States charged with or convicted of terrorism over approximately the last year alone,” Sessions wrote. “The barbaric attacks in Paris — an assault on civilization itself — add immense new urgency.”
House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas, meanwhile, wrote a letter to Obama asking him to “temporarily suspend the admission of all additional Syrian refugees into the United States pending a full review of the Syrian refugee resettlement program, including of the aforementioned security risks.” In an appearance on CNN, McCaul said Congress should declare war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (R-Ky.) will have to decide quickly on a course of action. The government funding process offers powerful leverage over the Obama administration.
Time is short. Just 25 days remain until government spending authority runs out, and Congress will recess next week for Thanksgiving.
This episode is certain to be a major test for Ryan and McConnell, who have vastly different leadership styles. Ryan has said he will be a bottom-up leader, allowing the rank-and-file to drive decisions. McConnell is more willing to press his own views.
America is a compassionate country. But that doesn't mean we should be reckless. At least one of the terrorists in Paris passed himself off as a Syrian refugee. We must stop this program and not just stand by as people who can't be vetted come into this country. We must protect ourselves.
No Change in Strategy
As POLITICO reports, President Obama has no plans to change direction in his strategy with ISIS.
President Barack Obama on Monday pushed back against calls for a dramatic rethink in the operation against the Islamic State, ruling out U.S. ground troops despite the “terrible and sickening setback" of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
Obama, speaking during a G-20 press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at times appeared to lose patience with repeated questions about whether he underestimated the threat of ISIL. Obama has been on the defensive after saying last week that Islamic State’s ground operation had largely been “contained,” a comment that came hours before the brutal attack in France that claimed the lives of more than 130 and injured hundreds more. He also infamously referred to the terrorist network in the past as the equivalent of a junior varsity team.
"It is not just my view but the view of my closest military and civilian advisers that that would be a mistake," Obama said about the possibility of sending more U.S. ground troops. "Not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is if you do not have local populations that are committing to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface, unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.”
In answering to criticism that he has not done enough to fight ISIL, Obama said he hasn't seen a sound alternative. "If there's a good idea out there, then we're going to do it," Obama said. "I don't think I've shown a hesitation to act."
At times, he responded to reporters' repeated questions with mild irritation. "All right, this is another variation on the same question. And I guess, let me try it one last time," he told one.
If "folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan," Obama remarked, an implicit rebuke of some Republican presidential candidates. Ben Carson told reporters last week that he had better intelligence on the ground in Syria than the White House.
"If they think somehow that their advisers are better than my joint chiefs of staff or my generals on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate," the president said, an apparent response to Carson's claim, while also taking a dig at Donald Trump in the process. "What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France. I’m too busy for that.”
Obama went on to hammer other Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who have called for barring Muslim refugees from Syria from entering the United States, but still allowing displaced Christians to seek refuge. “That’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are," Obama said. "We don’t have a religious test for our compassion."
At the same time, Obama said, addressing other world leaders, "slamming the door" in the faces of refugees fleeing conflict in Syria "would be a betrayal of our values."
"Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own safety. We can and must do both," the president said. However, he's facing resistance from Republicans. As of Monday, governors in a number of states had closed their borders to Syrians seeking asylum.