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Tipsheet

'Partisan Politics Prevailed': Senate Blocks Modest Step to Strengthen Refugee Screening

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s (R-TX) SAFE Act asked that the director of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence confirm that refugees from Syria and Iraq pose no threat to the country. Senate Democrats apparently thought that those terms were too radical and have blocked the common sense measure.

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While the SAFE Act seemed to scream bipartisanship, it did not gain enough votes during a procedural vote Wednesday. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid dismissed the legislation as nothing more than a “divisive platform” modeled after Donald Trump’s controversial rhetoric.

An infuriated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) scolded his colleagues for letting politics overshadow national security:

“Today, partisan politics prevailed, as Democrats joined to block consideration of a bill that would have taken a modest but important step toward ensuring terrorists do not exploit our nation’s refugee programs.  Remarkably, the Democrats are unwilling even to require this administration to certify that it’s safe to admit refugees from Syria and Iraq. This obstructionism is especially egregious given that earlier this month, two terrorists, who came to the United States as Iraqi refugees, were apprehended in Sacramento and Houston,” Sen. Cruz said.

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Likewise, House Speaker Paul Ryan called Democrats “irresponsible” for refusing to let the bill proceed.

With his legislation, McCaul was simply trying to fill in some gaping holes in our refugee screening process. Political correctness should have no bearing on the Senate floor when it comes to keeping Americans safe. 

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