Senators 'incredibly frustrated' over Trump officials' handling of refugee numbers
© Greg Nash

The top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee knocked the State Department on Wednesday, saying they hadn't been adequately consulted over President Trump's decision to slash refugee admission numbers.

"We are incredibly frustrated that the annual consultation for refugee admissions, which is required by law, was finalized just one day in advance," Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Grassley: McConnell doesn't control my committee MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate panel punts Mueller protection bill to next week Steyer endorses de León in bid to unseat Feinstein Amid struggle for votes, GOP plows ahead with Cabinet picks MORE (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement.

They added that it is "simply unacceptable" to read media reports about the administration's decision before a meeting with Congress had been scheduled.

The senators noted that the meeting with the administration wasn't scheduled until Tuesday afternoon, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump would cap refugee admissions at 45,000, the lowest cap ever set for resettlement.

A meeting between Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonBy sending spy to North Korea, America raises the stakes high Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE and top lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary committees took place on Wednesday afternoon.

"Since August, our offices have made bipartisan requests to the State Department on this meeting. Congress and the law require real engagement on this important subject. An eleventh-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient," Feinstein and Grassley said. 

The Trump administration officially informed Congress on Wednesday afternoon of its decision to slash refugee admissions to 45,000.

Wednesday's statement isn't the first time Grassley has knocked the Trump administration for sidelining requests for information from Congress.

Grassley lashed out at the Office of Legal Counsel earlier this year for issuing a guidance memo restricting the ability of most lawmakers to get answers to requests.

"[The opinion] falsely asserts that only requests from committees or their chairs are 'constitutionally authorized,' and relegates requests from non-Chairmen to the position of 'non-oversight' inquiries— whatever that means. This is nonsense," Grassley wrote in a letter to Trump at the time.

The memo came as Democrats, who do not hold committee chairmanships as the minority party in Congress, expressed growing frustration with the Trump administration over oversight requests, arguing that they were being ignored.