Senate Dems vow to block refugee bill

Senate Dems vow to block refugee bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care GOP’s midterm strategy takes shape Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest MORE (Nev.) says a House bill suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees, slated for action Thursday, will not make it to President Obama’s desk.
 
Reid said at a press conference that Democrats will block the legislation that requires the secretary of Homeland Security to affirm to Congress that every refugee being admitted is not a security threat.
 
Senate Democrats are pushing alternative legislation, to be unveiled after Thanksgiving, that would tighten up security gaps in the visa waiver program.
 

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“The problem is not with refugees,” Reid said. “I don’t think we’ll be dealing with it over here.”
 
When asked about the prospect of Obama vetoing the legislation, Reid said, “Don’t worry, it won’t get passed. Next question?”
 
House Republican leaders expect the bill to receive yes votes from as many as 50 Democrats in the lower chamber.
 
They warned Democrats will pay the price politically next year if they block it.
 
“We’ll crucify them,” said a senior House GOP aide.
 
Senate Democratic leaders argue people who travel to the United States under a program that allows them to stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa poses a bigger problem.
 
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care To make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain MORE (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, earlier in the week said a pause of the refugee resettlement program may be necessary.
 
On Thursday he took that option off the table.
 
“The appropriate place to focus is the visa waiver program and the ability of terrorists to buy guns,” he said.
 
Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Senate tries to avoid landmines on massive spending bill Dems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records Democrats question if Kavanaugh lied about work on terrorism policy MORE (D-Calif.) is the lead sponsor of legislation to tighten up the visa waiver program as well as another bill to prevent people on the terrorist watch list from buying firearms.
 
Senate Republican leaders earlier in the week declined to comment on barring people on the watch list from purchasing guns.