Thursday, November 19, 2015

Passage in the House: Assessing the good, the bad, the ugly of the American SAFE Act

Well, the headlines certainly sounded in our favor this evening for a change. Despite Obama's veto threat, the House passed a bill purported to curb Syrian refugee resettlement in the U.S. with a BIPARTISAN VETO-PROOF MAJORITY!
Townhall: The House just passed a bill aimed to curb the flow of Syrian and Iraqi refugees entering the country unless they pass a vigorous screening process. The bill was brought up in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack that carried out by the Islamic State in Paris last Friday, which left over 120 people dead. Yesterday French Police killed the mastermind of the attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, in a raid.

The legislation was threatened with a veto from President Obama, but passed with a veto-proof majority. No one wants to look like they're soft on national security entering an election year. (via AP):
In a stinging rebuke to President Barack Obama by Republicans as well as members of his own party, the House ignored a veto threat Thursday and overwhelmingly approved Republican legislation erecting fresh hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the United States.

Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans as the House passed the measure 289-137. That margin exceeded the two-thirds majority required to override a veto, and it came despite a rushed, early morning visit to the Capitol by top administration officials in a futile attempt to limit Democratic defections for the measure.

Thursday's vote came six days after a burst of bombings and shootings in Paris killed 129 people, wounded many more and revived post-9/11 jitters in the U.S. and Europe. The attacks have turned the question of admitting people fleeing war-torn Syria and Iraq into a high-stakes political issue in both the United States and Europe, and many congressional Democrats were willing to vote against their party's lame duck president for fear of angering voters nervous about security at home.
Related link: House Passes Bill to Halt, Overhaul Syrian Refugee Process

So now it's off to the Senate...hold on, though. Isn't this the same bill that we discussed earlier, which simply requires one new step for Syrian and Iraqi refugee admittance and resettlement from people who work for President Obama at his pleasure? Yep, the same one. So, let's back up for a moment.

Although the particular testimony I'm about to refer to occurred a month ago, it's become especially relevant over the past week, and has likely been played various times throughout each day since. So allow me to set up a contrast/comparison this time around...

If our FBI Director ADMITS that the U.S. cannot adequately vet all Syrian refugees for terror ties...
"We can only query against that which we have collected. And, so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but...there'll be nothing to show up, because we have no record on that person."

...then how can our new Speaker acknowledge that fact, yet still pursue any appended measure after this epiphany (@ 3:06):
"Here's the problem: There really isn't a Syria to talk to corroborate the veracity of a person's claims..."
STOP right there. If there's no way to verify who these foreign individuals are, that's a major impediment towards the progress of any refugee program, particularly concerning one under a president who wants to fast-track everything.

Yes, Ryan muscled through passage of the House legislation this afternoon, which only slightly tightens up the vetting process. Bravo. But this program doesn't just need to be paused, it needs to be halted completely based solely on what our FBI Director has already informed the Speaker (and the world for that matter, as it was broadcasted as part of a congressional hearing). Even one slip up can risk a lot of American citizens' lives.

Mark Levin was discouraged tonight as well with the misdirection of the conversation, hammering away at Ryan for pushing what some conservatives see as a rather weak bill...
TRS: Mark Levin doesn’t like the bill that passed the House today because it doesn’t do what Republicans are claiming it does.

He played Paul Ryan’s interview from last night on Hannity and took his arguments completely apart, pointing out that all a high level official in the Obama administration has to do is sign something saying the these refugees are ok.

Levin says the bill won’t work because it’s trying to hold a lawless administration to account who refuses to be held to account.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa was one of only two Republicans who voted against the Act, citing:
“I voted against the American SAFE Act because it fails to restore Congress’ Article 1 authority over admissions of migrants to the United States,” King said in a statement provided to TheBlaze.

“How can we trust this Obama Administration who will not utter the words ‘radical Islamic jihad’ to accurately screen Syrian and Iraqi refugees as required in this bill?” King continued. “For that reason, I submitted an amendment to Rules, which was ultimately not adopted, that would create international safe zones for refugees in their homeland. The safety and security of the American people is paramount. I respect the House trying to find a solution, but I do not believe this was the right or strong enough one.”
Here's how much of an ideologue Obama is, though. Even with this singular provision being discussed in the mainstream press as some draconian play by Republicans, when in fact it's extremely minimal, Obama has still promised to veto the measure, because, well, Republicans came up with it, and he hates them more than ISIS. Go figure.

Related links: Ryan: Don’t Want to Nix Syrian, Iraqi Refugee Programs, but ‘Standards’ Not Where They Should Be
Paul Ryan Tells Sean Hannity He Will Not Support Any Cuts To Muslim Immigration: ‘That’s Not Who We Are’

Ryan, House GOP leaders set the stage to CAVE to Obama's Syrian refugee resettlement chaos

ADDENDUM: Via Thursday’s Mark Levin Show:
Instead of debating about the security of America, we’re talking about how racist Republicans are and how America should allow Syrian refugees in. The debate we need to have is why won’t President Obama secure this county and unleash hell on ISIS; let’s debate how to win this war! Instead of talking about the refugees, Obama should just deal with ISIS by sending conventional warheads to their capital. Its what FDR and Truman would have done, but he will never do that. Also, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have been meeting behind closed doors to cut a deal with Obama. They are behind legislation to increase vetting by requiring senior U.S. officials to sign off on each immigrant personally. This measure is ineffective and will not help in identifying terrorists inserted among the refugees.

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