The U.S. House of Representatives easily passes legislation to suspend President Barack Obama's program to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year and boost security screenings for them, defying a White House veto threat. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The U.S. House of Representatives, defying a veto threat by President Barack Obama, overwhelmingly passed Republican-backed legislation on Thursday (November 19) to intensify security screenings of Syrian refugees and suspend Obama's program to admit 10,000 of them in the next year. Under the bill, introduced after the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday that killed 129 people, no refugees from Syria or Iraq could enter the United States until several top-level U.S. security officials verified they did not pose a threat. Before the vote, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the bill not stop refugees from entering the U.S. but would only put in place a "pause" in the process. "The bill before us increases the standards to keep those who want to do us harm out. But America is not saying no to refugees. America always stands as a beacon of hope for everyone fleeing oppression and terror. Nothing will stop us from protecting the innocent while continuing our fight against evil. Instead, this bill puts a pause on our refugee program until we are certain that nobody being allowed in poses a threat to the American people," he said. Democrats have argued that the bill will send the wrong signal and play into the hands of Islamic State (ISIS). "Defeating terrorism should not mean slamming the door in the faces of those who are facing the terrorists. That is why I am appalled by the actions of this House and by some of the words of my colleagues today. The United States has always been, and should always be a place of refuge. Remember the Syrian refugees are running away from ISIS, they are running away from war and terror. They are its victims. To stop thousands of desperate people who are fleeing unspeakable violence is unconscionable. We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty," said Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Democrats have proposed an alternate bill that would have required the Department of Homeland Security to tighten security for all refugees. "Unlike the Republican bill the Democratic alternative applies tough scrutiny to all refugees, not just Syrians and Iraqis, as the Republican bill is limited to," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Republican bill was approved on a vote of 289 to 137, with 47 of Obama's 188 fellow Democrats breaking with the White House to support it.