Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration

Defund Refugee Settlement Idea Shot Down by White House

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Friday, 04 Dec 2015 09:38 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The response to Rep. Brian Babin’s proposal to deny federal funds to the Office of Refugee Resettlement was swift: “That’s obviously something the administration would vigorously oppose,” Press secretary Josh Earnest told me at the regular briefing for White House reporters. Babin’s proposal would be added to the budget bill to fund the government.

But when asked if defunding of the Refugee Resettlement Office would trigger a veto of the Omnibus Spending Bill, Earnest stopped short. “What I am going to do is resist the urge to pass judgment [as a reason for a veto] on the possible inclusion of one proposal or another that’s floated by members of Congress,” Earnest flatly said.


He did volunteer that the Texas representative's proposed defunding of the government agencies that oversees the resettlement of refugees in the United States “obviously is not the kind of thing the president believes will be good policy.”

Earnest made these remarks as Babin’s proposal was taken up at a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference. Babin explained to Newmax last week, that the idea would apply to the spending measure the tenets of his own Resettlement Accountability Act (H.R. 3314).

Introduced in July of this year, the act prohibits the admission of refugees into the United States until Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to resume admitting refugees.

The bill would include a 120-day moratorium of the program permitting refugees from Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa to settle in the U.S. unless Congress reinstates the program by joint resolution.

Enactment of the Texan’s measure would maintain reasonable funding for food, medicine, and shelter for refugees overseas.

At the monthly Conversations with Conservatives forum held on the day before Earnest’s remarks, conservative Republicans in the House held a robust discussion on Babin’s proposal.

“I’m firmly behind it,” Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., told me, “When the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI both say they cannot properly vet the number of refugees who want to come to the U.S., we have to call a time out.”

Gosar’s view was echoed by Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who said “we will be driving these issues [of stopping refugee resettlement].” He also said that published reports House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was claiming Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would not permit such a controversial measure in the spending bill meant that Pelosi “was making false claims.”

One of the lawmakers on the Conversations with Conservatives panel who was confident he and his colleagues would wage a spirited fight over refugees resettlement was not sure it would through Babin’s spending measure.

“Something has to be done,” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told me, noting that he was one of 75 GOP House Members who signed Babin’s “Dear Colleague” letter. “The SAFE Act [Security Against Foreign Enemies Act] does the same things as [Babin’s] spending proposal, only it requires the FBI to do the vetting before refugees are admitted.”

He also noted that the SAFE Act received 47 Democratic votes when it was passed last month and that provided supporters with a veto-proof [two thirds] majority in the House. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.








 

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Introduced in July of this year, the act prohibits the admission of refugees into the United States until Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security authority to resume admitting refugees.
Homeland Security, Immigration
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2015-38-04
Friday, 04 Dec 2015 09:38 AM
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