For those keeping score, over the last few months, Senate Democrats have used the filibuster -- which they railed against and eroded while in the majority -- to block a bill to pay our troops, to prevent any vote on President Obama's reckless Iran deal, to hold up funding for the VA, and to obstruct legislation helping victims of human trafficking because it didn't spend taxpayer dollars on abortions. (One can only hope the NRSC is keeping track of these votes for future attack ads). Harry's crew is angling to add another notch in their obstructionist belt, with Reid vowing to filibuster a post-Paris bill designed to beef up vetting protocols for Syrian refugees -- which passed the House with a veto-proof majority, with the help of nearly 50 Democrats. The Senate Minority leader sounded open to the legislation earlier in the week, but once Obama dropped a veto threat, Reid did what Reid always does. Must protect The Precious:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (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...“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.
There's a reason why 47 Democrats joined nearly every Republican in voting for this legislation: Obama's status quo policy is deep underwater with a jittery public, and his sanctimonious sneering isn't helping. Actually, that reminds me of a second reason. If the current vetting process really is as exacting and thorough as the White House insists it is (I'm still perplexed as to how reliable background checks are even possible amid such total chaos), they're doing an abysmally bad job selling it. Not just to Republicans, but to Democrats -- at both the state and federal level. They're really bad at governing and consensus-building. Truth be told, the House bill is primarily a symbolic measure that raises the accountability stakes for administration officials in charge of the screening process, who've screwed up badly before. Obama allergic to accountability, which is why he's chosen to snipe at GOP rhetoric while his failed Syria/ISIS strategy burns to the ground. Dozens of House Democrats evidently weren't too keen on voting against a bill that would make it harder for ISIS terrorists to enter the United States posing as refugees. Again, this isn't an imaginary threat, neither here nor in Europe -- Reid's breezy "the problem is not with refugees" assessment notwithstanding. Will Senate Democrats once again hold hands and walk Harry and Barry's plank? We shall see. Meanwhile, Dianne Feinstein and Jeff Flake have floated a separate bill, which focuses on keeping radicalized Western nationals out of the US:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday will introduce legislation broadening the debate to visa waivers granted to European citizens traveling to the United States. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), would block waivers for European citizens who spent time in Syria or Iraq in the past five years. “Let’s say France has had 2000 people leave to go and fight [in Syria.] They’re a visa waiver country so the people come back to France and then they come into the United States. The bill we would propose would strictly limit that,” she said after attending a classified briefing with senior administration officials Wednesday evening. She added the legislation would tighten the fingerprinting requirements for visitors who qualify for visa waivers. “Currently, in most cases, the fingerprints are checked after they arrive in the United States. They should be done before,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.). While Republicans have focused on the 10,000 refugees from Syria whom President Obama wants to resettle domestically, Democrats argue they are already subject to rigorous vetting. They say visa waivers pose a greater security threat, noting several of the Paris attackers were French or Belgian citizens who were believed to have visited Syria.
Yes, several of the attackers were homegrown French and Belgian jihadis. Several others, including collaborators, appear to have passed themselves off as refugees in order to gain entry into Europe. This is a two-pronged threat, so why not address both prongs? If Senate Democrats use the Feinstein 'alternative' as a fig leaf to filibuster the overwhelmingly popular refugee vetting bill, House Republicans should add her language to their legislation and pass it again. Let filibustering Democrats or a veto pen-wielding president explain their actions to voters. Good luck with that. By the way, next time you hear Obama upbraiding opponents over their "un-American" reactions to his dumpster fire of a foreign policy, keep this piece handy:
Fmr. head of Defense Intel on dire 2012 ISIS report: "It was disregarded by the WH... it didn't meet the narrative." https://t.co/vdpnya8rhK— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) November 19, 2015
Who could have seen these "setbacks" coming? Obama, that's who. But it didn't fit the narrative, so it was shunted off onto the pile of avert-your-eyes inconveniences. That would be the same narrative, incidentally, that required these lies to protect.