If House And Senate Don’t Agree, Could There Be A Government Shutdown Over Syrian Refugee Program Changes?

The unfortunate recent terror attacks in Paris have led to more than half-31 to be precise of the nation’s governors to declare that they will refuse entry to Syrian refugees into their states.

Florida’s governor, Rick Scott among others had gone so far as to request House Republicans push a bill through Congress to prevent Syrian refugees from entering his state.

On Nov. 19th, the governors’ wishes was granted. The House passed the SAFE Act, with an overwhelming 289-137 vote, enough to override a veto, which President Obama has already said he would do if the bill were to pass the Senate.

The SAFE act wouldn’t stop Syrian refugees from entering the United States, however, it could place a very long pause on the current Syrian refugee program.

The act would add an extra screening process in the already extensive, 18-24 months, vetting procedure refugees must go through before placement in the country by requiring the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence personally sign off on each refugee granted entry.

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are also offering their own alternative to the SAFE Act, which would place limitations on the visa waiver program by refusing eligibility to individuals who have traveled to Syria or Iraq in the past five years, the real question is whether the Senate will be able to block the House’s bill from passing before their alternative can get off the ground.

It’s also possible the House and Senate and the bipartisan coalitions in each will reach a stalemate. If you keep in mind the fact the next government budget deadline is Dec. 11th, then it wouldn’t be completely out of place for House Republicans, (with perhaps some Democratic support) to threaten another government shutdown in order to pass the SAFE Act. In fact, it is entirely possible.

Cover Photo Credit: Freedom House/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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