Top Republican wants tighter restrictions on refugee funding
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump Trump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller MORE is pushing for tighter restrictions on any funding to help resettle refugees into the United States in the wake of terror attacks in Paris late last week. 

With the administration signaling that it will move forward on its pledge to accept more refugees into the United States, the Alabama Republican wants to require that Congress sign off on a resettlement plan from President Obama before any money can be spent to help bring the refugees into the country. 
 
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"Absent a change in the way in which Congress provides funds for refugee admissions, processing, and related matters, this ramp-up will occur despite both public and Congressional opposition," he wrote in a letter Monday to members of the Appropriations Committee, adding that "the barbaric attacks in Paris — an assault on civilization itself — add immense new urgency." 
 
Sessions also wants lawmakers to require that the administration estimate how much refugee resettlement, including the use of any social or welfare programs, would cost; how much it would cost to resettle a single refugee based on an average lifespan; and for the president to identify how he would pay for the resettlement. 
 
Sessions added in his letter that currently "every cent of spending on refugee resettlement will have to be borrowed and added to the debt" and that the administration's proposal "will amount to a blank check to President Obama."
 
In addition, Sessions wants Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to detail for lawmakers how many individuals, or their children, who came to the United States as refugees or were granted asylum since 2001 were later discovered to have ties to terrorism or were arrested. He also wants to know how many have become permanent residents and how many were removed from the United States for any reason. 
 
The administration's plan to increase the number of refugees — including Syrian refugees — allowed into the United States each year has come under heavy scrutiny from congressional Republicans in the wake of Friday's attack, which appears to have been carried out by at least one individual who came to France while posing as a refugee.  
 
President Obama called out Republicans who are suggesting that the administration focus on admitting only Christian refugees, calling the idea "shameful" and "un-American."
 
The president's plan to increase the number of refugees had already faced skepticism on Capitol Hill ahead of Friday's attack, with Republicans raising concerns over national security.  
 
Separately, Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release MORE (D-Vt.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars DOJ: Dem subpoena for Mueller report is 'premature and unnecessary' Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions MORE (R-S.C.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would give the administration an extra $1 billion to help with refugee resettlement.  

Sessions added in his letter on Monday that the United States should instead focus on relocating refugees into "safe zones" in Syria or neighboring countries.

 "Immigration policy affects every aspect of society. Our constituents are entitled to have their Congress consider the issue carefully, since the President’s plan will take money directly out of American’s Social Security and Medicare retirement trust funds," he added.