Following Speaker Paul Ryan’s “show-vote” on the nation’s resettlement of Syrian refugees, House conservative lawmakers are demanding that Ryan take sincere action by denying the President funds to refugee resettlement in the year-end funding bill.
On Thursday, Walter Jones’ office put out a statement explaining that Jones “rejects show vote on refugees” because the legislation “would do nothing to cut off the funding for President Barack Obama’s plan to import tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees into the U.S.” In the release, Jones states, “Defunding President Obama’s refugee program is the only way to ensure there is an actual halt to a refugee influx until we can determine without question that we are not giving terrorists a free pass into the United States… even if today’s bill were… signed into law, the President would still retain the power to let in whoever, and however many, refugees he pleases.”
Ryan, however, has left the door wide open to approving the President’s annual request for refugee funding – which expires on December 11th. This would give the President the necessary funding to resettle refugees from all over the world into the United States– who, upon arrival, would become instantly eligible for all federal benefits. In a Wednesday interview with Sean Hannity, Hannity aggressively tried to get a procurement from Ryan that he would use the power of the purse to stop Obama’s refugee resettlement plan, but Ryan refused to commit to doing so. Ryan said: “Look right now Sean, I’m not going to take any options off the table. I’m not going to put any options on the table.”
Ryan’s reticence to refuse the President’s funding request could subject him to continued criticism as an increasing number of conservatives tear into his proposal.
Indeed, the editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, took to the pages of his publication on Friday to mock Ryan’s proposal. In a post entitled, “Uh, the House Bill to Pause the Syrian Refugee Program Doesn’t Really Pause the Syrian Refugee Program,” Lowry sliced into the plan– which Ryan promoted to Hannity as a refugee “pause” no less than seven times in one interview. Lowry explained, “It was nice to see the House get a veto-proof majority for its Syrian refugee bill. The problem is, when you get down to it, it doesn’t do anything… It’s highly doubtful that an administration that has torn up the law to get its way on amnesty is going to let the need for a few additional signatures prevent it from working its will on Syrian refugees.”
Lowry then pointed out that Hot Air’s AllahPundit, “makes the case that [Democrat Diane] Feinstein[‘s] bill in the Senate is actually more substantive: ‘Another irony: when you compare the House GOP’s bill to what Senate Dems are pushing, it’s the Democratic bill that’s more substantive.'”
Similarly Mark Levin presented Ryan’s entire proposal as a fraud. “You’re not securing the homeland, you’re pretending to secure the homeland,” Levin declared, later tweeting out: “Washington fighting over phony policy and want you to think it is serious.”
Congressman Steve King, who voted against Ryan’s proposal, elaborated on these concerns during Friday’s program of Breitbart News Daily. King reiterated the call of Sen. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, who have said that the only way to stop Obama’s refugee resettlement plan is to deny the President’s funding request. King said:
I think the votes [to block funding for Obama’s refugee program] are there, but leadership has to be there. So I’m not particularly optimistic that we are going to get this done. Too many members have been conditioned to believe that if you say no to the President’s funding demands that… you are in effect shutting the government down. Our leadership in the past has done a terrible job. They’ve messaged against conservatives and against the interests of this country, I think. It doesn’t look to me like Paul Ryan is ready to turn that message around. So that’s where the struggle is.
Others have been equally harsh in their assessment of Ryan’s plan. For instance, Daniel Horowtiz has said, “Instead of listening to their constituents and following the calls of 30 governors to shut down Islamic refugee resettlement, Republicans are about to pull the classic bait and switch: pass a phony standalone bill and decline to defund it in the budget bill… They have no intention of actually stopping it.”
The non-partisan, immigration control group NumbersUSA issued a statement declaring:
NumbersUSA is extremely disappointed in the legislation… Republican and Democratic leaders of both the House and the Senate have stated since the terrorist attacks in Paris that we need a ‘pause’ in the refugee flow to protect our homeland. However, instead of legislating that pause.. the House instead will vote to cede its responsibility for America’s safety to the FBI, the DNI, and DHS in the hopes that they can pick and choose correctly from a limited number of ‘covered’ aliens.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform has said that Ryan’s proposal “is a flawed bill that fails to completely stop or defund the current refugee resettlement program and cedes all responsibility to an already untrustworthy administration to verify whether any refugees present a national security risk.”
Jeff Sessions explained that the legislation Ryan pushed through the House “allows the President to continue to bring in as many refugees as he wants from anywhere in the world.”
After the vote, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who voted for Ryan’s bill, wanted to emphasize his yes vote should in no way be interpreted to suggest Ryan’s bill was satisfactory– a sentiment presumably shared by his other colleagues who are demanding that Congress not approve the President’s funding request. Bridenstine proclaimed that the legislation “does not go far enough”:
Along with over 60 of my colleagues, I signed a letter to Speaker Ryan demanding that the impending trillion dollar omnibus spending bill include a provision which suspends refugee program funding.
In addition to the role of resettling 85,000 refugees this year from countries ranging from Somali to Syria to the Congo, the Office of Refugee Resettlement will also resettle illegal aliens who arrive at the Southern border seeking U.S. jobs and benefits. Bridenstine zeroed in on this as well in his demand that Ryan turn down Obama’s ask for resettlement funding:
I am also drafting an omnibus rider to defund the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency which is unaccountable to Congress and helps resettle illegal aliens. We are under no obligation to import possible terrorists to replay the Paris attacks in America.
On Wednesday, the offices of Bridenstine, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Brian Babin (R-TX), and Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued a release, “calling for a temporary suspension of Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) funding for all refugees, as well as individuals not in a legitimate lawful status.” The release explains that “The lawmakers’ approach includes but also extends beyond refugee services for Syrian, Iraqi and other refugees and… [that] the lawmakers are currently crafting language to address the issue for inclusion in an omnibus spending bill.”
Blackburn, too, voted for Ryan’s measure, but explained that under Ryan’s plan – unless funding is blocked – the President will still be able to “carry out his refugee resettlement efforts in full.” The Congresswoman said: “I’m working with my colleagues to temporarily suspend Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) resettlement funding for all refugees, as well as individuals not in a legitimate lawful status. If Congress funds ORR without such restrictions, Congress will be providing the President the funds to carry out his refugee resettlement efforts in full – both from countries overseas as well as through the resettlement of illegal aliens at the Southern border.”
Also acknowledging the insufficiency of Ryan’s plan after voting for it, Babin said Congress would be failing in its sworn duty if it did not block funding: “I believe we must do more and have a sworn duty to do so. I’ll continue fighting for an immediate moratorium on Obama’s reckless refugee program, and we need to use the upcoming spending bill to defund this madness… I will not stop this fight – and in my mind it has only begun.”
Rep. Smith, too, said after advancing the Ryan measure that, “We must halt all refugee resettlement.” His office noted that Smith had sponsored legislation to put the breaks on refugee funding.
Senator Jeff Sessions, in his own argument for rejecting Obama’s funding request, explained what he viewed as the perils of relying on the Ryan plan for security – a plan he asserted “fails to defend the interests of the American people.” Sessions elaborated: the “bill transfers the prerogative from Congress to President Obama and ensures the President’s refugee resettlement initiative will continue unabated… [additionally] the House plan does not offset a single penny of increased refugee resettlement costs.”
On Breitbart News Daily, King elaborated on the danger that faces Western civilization if Congress does not reject the large-scale importation of Muslim migrants. Earlier in the week, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Ryan had repudiated the idea of curbing Muslim migration declaring, “That’s not who we are.” Hannity had pointed out that the U.S. has permanently relocated 1.5 million Muslim migrants inside U.S. borders since 9/11. These newcomers arrived as part of the autopilot yearly inflow of a million lifetime migrants on U.S. green cards.
Breitbart News’ executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon asked King about Paul Ryan’s comments.
The argument that, ‘That’s not who we are,’ that’s just one of the mantras that they put out. And it’s not supported by logic or rationale… Well, ‘who we are,’ we should not be a suicidal nation… if you had 100 grapes and you knew that two of them were fatally poisonous, would you sit there and eat the grapes until one of them kills you? Or would you decide, I’m not going to take that bunch grapes at all. That’s what we’re dealing with with Syrian refugees… We have a right to protect our culture and our civilization. I’m watching as Europe… is committing cultural suicide by pouring in millions of migrants that don’t share their values… the mass migration is the end of their culture and their civilization… they define the survival of their country as replacing themselves with people who do not share their values.
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy pointed out the problem is much deeper than simply screening for existing terrorists among the refugee population, but about importing “assimilation-resistant Muslims” who create fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists. McCarthy writes:
The bigger challenge is the infiltration of a population of people schooled to resist assimilation… On immigration, our national-security challenge is not limited to keeping Islamist terrorists out. It demands the exclusion of populations that breed, encourage, aid, abet, and materially support Islamist terrorism, particularly Islamists themselves.
Ryan, however, has expressed support for refugee resettlement declaring, “We’re a compassionate country.”
Rebutting this narrative, in a piece entitled “Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral,” Mark Krikorian observed that bringing one refugee to America denies 11 other refugees support in their homeland: “It costs twelve times as much to resettle a refugee in the United States as it does to care for the same refugee in a neighboring country in the Middle East.”