Speaker Paul Ryan: Congress May Cut Funding From Obama’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program In Next Budget Battle

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) answers questions during his first weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol November 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. Ryan discussed a range of issues including the way he intends to allow members of the House introduce legislation and offer amendments. (Photo by
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Washington, DC

House Speaker Paul Ryan says that a budget battle may be brewing between Congress and President Barack Obama over funding for Obama’s efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

When radio host Bill Bennett asked Ryan about a potential “backlash” over refugees being let into America from Syria—he questioned why “we would let people in who want to blow us up”—Ryan replied by acknowledging that refugees are part of the problem.

“Particularly with the story about one of the terrorist attackers who came through Greece from Syria,” Ryan said, referencing how according to Greek authorities at least one perhaps two of the attackers were Syrians registered as “refugees” there just a month ago.

“Look, we’ve always been a generous nation taking in refugees but this is a unique situation—this is a situation where you’ve got single men coming over, which is not women and children,” Ryan said. “So what we are doing is I have asked all of the committees of jurisdiction in the House to come up with recommendations for how do we immediately address this particular situation? So, we’re looking at all of our options about how do we make sure something like this doesn’t happen coming here to us with refugees.”

When Bennett asked in a follow-up question to Ryan about cutting off government funding to refugee programs, Ryan noted that was on the table.

“So, we have a funding at the end of the year bill—we’re looking at all of these options,” Ryan said.

What matters to me is we don’t—not only do we prevent people from coming in, but we don’t bring them in. So we’ve got to make sure that we are protecting ourselves and so that is what we are looking at: What is the best option not to just have an issue to talk about but to actually have a result which is making sure we are not complicit or even facilitating having someone come in who would seek to do us harm from Syria?

Bennett noted that requires “some use of muscle by the House,” and Ryan replied “that’s right.”

“So we’re trying to figure out what is the best legislative option here to prevent something like this from happening,” Ryan said.

When asked for further clarification about whether Ryan was saying it’s on the table that the House will cut off funding for refugee resettlement, Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told Breitbart News: “we’ll be looking at all options for keeping America safe.”

The government is only funded until early December, which means Congress needs to pass a new funding bill or the government will shut down. Ryan has previously been touting his efforts to fund the government—the first major legislative battle he’ll face as House Speaker—without threat of a shutdown, but if he moves forward on this front it would almost certainly be attacked by the left and Democrats as efforts to shut down the government.

If Ryan doesn’t do anything to stop Obama’s efforts to increase the flow of Syrian refugees into America, there could be early trouble for the new Speaker’s reign over the House of Representatives.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest and the intellectual leader of the conservative movement, is calling on Congress to block funding for such Obama refugee resettlement efforts. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate who won Iowa last time he ran in 2008, says Ryan should “step down today” as Speaker if he doesn’t step up and lead.

Earlier in the interview with Bennett, Ryan called the attack in Paris a “horrible, coordinated terrorist attack.”

“We have to see this for what it is,” Ryan said.

This is a war and they’ve brought it to us and so the question is: How do we finish it? It’s important we get all of the facts. I’ve asked for a classified briefing from the administration for all members of Congress as they return today in session. So we’re still learning more but what’s very clear today is ISIS is not a remote danger in a far-off land. A containment strategy is not enough. That has completely failed. So what we’re seeing in my opinion is the consequence of the president’s continued reluctance to take this threat fully and seriously. For over a year we’ve been asking for an overarching strategy to defeat ISIS—there just simply isn’t one. So we can’t have the administration avoid this question any longer.

Ryan also noted that the defense bill that just passed the House of Representatives with more than 350 votes calls for a strategy to defeat ISIS, not just contain it.


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