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McConnell Joins Call for Syrian Refugees Admission ‘Pause’

McConnell and other Republican senators conduct a news conference Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
McConnell and other Republican senators conduct a news conference Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined the calls for a “pause” in Syrian refugees admissions, echoing Speaker Paul D. Ryan.  

The Kentucky Republican pointed to the influx of Iraqi refugees in his home state indicted on terrorism charges back in 2011 . “The ability to vet people coming from that part of the world is really quite limited, and so that’s why I, for one, don’t feel particularly comforted by the assertion that our government can vet these refugees, which leads to what you’re hearing from all the governors around the country,” McConnell said.  

McConnell Calls for ‘Pause’ on Refugee Admissions

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Top administration officials are scheduled to brief the House Tuesday afternoon and the Senate in a closed meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.  

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is reserving judgment until after Wednesday’s briefing with administration officials.  

“We’re going to take a look at it and see if it could be made better,” Reid said. “My personal feeling is I’m going to wait until tomorrow. I don’t think at this stage we should be pausing until we get the facts.”  

Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said any changes to secure refugee admissions should be applied across the board, rather than targeting a specific country or certain religions.  

“While 70,000 refugees come into the United States, literally millions of visitors come into the United States from overseas,” Durbin said. “Let’s ask the hard questions about how we make sure that none of them can come into the United States and cause problems for us or any threat to our safety.”  

McConnell said the ultimate solution was to solve the situation in the Middle East.  

“We’re going to continue to have refugees as long as Syria looks like it does,” McConnell said. “And so what we need is a strategy obviously to give the refugees an opportunity to stay in their own country.”  

Reid Coy On Refugee Pause

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Related: Ryan Calls for ‘Pause’ on Syrian Refugees See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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