Graham, Leahy push for $1B in emergency Syrian refugee funds
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A bipartisan pair of senators — including one presidential candidate — is pushing forward with an emergency spending bill to help strengthen the administration's ability to combat the Syrian refugee crisis. 

 
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Leahy said in a statement that "the disaster in Syria dwarfs anything we have seen for decades, with millions of people uprooted and seeking safety in other countries. It is a humanitarian emergency of staggering proportions, and we need to do more. Our bill would make that possible.” 
 
While the legislation doesn't specify how many Syrian refugees should be accepted into the United States, their funding would allow for the resettlement of up to 100,000 refugees over two years, according to Leahy's office. 
 
The legislation comes as Congress is grappling with how to respond to the crisis and the administration's plan to increase the number of refugees it accepts. 
 
Dozens of Senate Democrats backed a letter from Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Minimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster New rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees MORE (D-Conn.) earlier this week calling for an emergency spending bill. That letter was spent to Leahy and Graham, as well as Sens. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Hyde-Smith fends off challenge from Espy in Mississippi MORE (R-Miss.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiFormer Md. senator Paul Sarbanes dies at 87 Foreign policy congressional committees need to call more women experts Lobbying World MORE (D-Md.), the top two members on the Appropriations Committee. 
 
But FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that there are "gaps" in the screening process for bringing Syrians into the United States. 
 
“There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” he told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 
 
Graham, who is running for president, quickly came out in support of accepting more Syrian refugees after a photo of a drowned Syrian child went viral and sparked international outrage earlier this year. 
 
His position pits him against not only many of his Republican colleagues, but also other 2016 presidential contenders. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance MORE (R-Texas), who is also running for president, said earlier this week that President Obama's plan to accept additional Syrian refugees was "nothing short of crazy." 
 
The Graham-Leahy bill also requires that Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryUN: Emission reduction plans 'fall far short' Climate change rears its ugly head, but Biden steps up to fight it Recapturing the spirit of Bretton Woods MORE describe what security vetting refugees would have to undergo before being accepted into the country.