A group of lawmakers is planning to deny federal funding to the agencies that oversee refugee resettlement, Newsmax has learned.
Capitol Hill sources said the decision was prompted by remarks made by FBI Director James Comey during his closed door testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee last week.
Asked whether the FBI had the resources to properly vet the more than 100,000 refugees the Obama administration wants to admit to the U.S. over the next two years, Comey reportedly replied that his organization “lacked the records” for carefully vetting.
The House voted resoundingly Thursday for the Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) act to delay the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, confirmed he had sent a letter to colleagues requesting that the House leadership insert the defunding of resettlement program in the Omnibus spending bill.
“We would like to defund the Office of Refugee Settlement until Congress can reassert its authority and have oversight over the program,” Babin told me. “It is essential that Congress acts quickly to remove the immediate national security threat that this program presents.”
As to whether the SAFE act achieves that goal, Babin said it did, “and I was encouraged that we passed it in the House with 47 Democratic votes and a veto-proof [two-thirds] majority. We certainly hope we can get the same veto-proof majority in the Senate, but at this time, we are uncertain.”
Opting for the defunding procedure, he added, “is a form of insurance for our security.” Specifically, Babin’s proposal applies to the spending measure the tenets of the Texas congressman’s own Resettlement Accountability National Security 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 authority to resume admitting refugees.
Under Babin’s proposal, 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.
Babin’s plan to stop the refugee program on the spending front has so far been signed by 75 other Republican House Members. The congressman told me he plans to recirculate the letter when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess and, he emphasized, “I certainly hope that some of the Democrats who voted for the SAFE act sign on to this.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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