Senate

McConnell: Syrian refugees ‘likely’ part of spending bill

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the battle over taking in Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks will probably find its way into government funding legislation currently being considered. 
 
“I think the refugee issue is likely to be dealt with in some way in the omnibus,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters when asked if the House-passed bill halting incoming refugees or changes to the Visa Waiver Program could be included in the spending bill. 
 
{mosads}The Republican leader, however, stressed that the catch-all proposal is still being negotiated, calling it a “work in progress” with “a lot of different ideas.” 
 
McConnell’s comments come after Senate Democrats threatened to block the chamber from taking up a House-passed bill that would require the administration to certify that Syrian and Iraqi refugees aren’t a threat to national security. 
 
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) separately told The Hill that the measure could be tucked into the omnibus bill. 
 
The move could complicate a Republican pledge to avoid a government shutdown ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline to pass spending legislation. While the push to “pause” the acceptance of refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks gained the support of dozens of House Democrats, it’s largely divided lawmakers along partisan lines in the upper chamber. 
 
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested that Republicans should focus on other issues, including making sure suspected terrorists can’t buy guns or explosives. 
 
“It seems so hard for me to comprehend that they’re more concerned about these handful of Syrian refugees than they are about things that are important,” he told reporters. 
 
Senate Democrats have doubled down on legislation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would allow the attorney general to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist if the individual is believed to use the weapons in an act of terrorism.
 
Thirty-six Democrats, as well as Independent Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), pushed McConnell over the week-long Thanksgiving break to “quickly” bring up Feinstein’s legislation on the floor for a vote. 
Tags Angus King Bernie Sanders Dianne Feinstein Harry Reid Mitch McConnell

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