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Harry Reid Warns GOP: No Shutdown Funny Business Over Syrian Refugees!

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While spending levels were set in the fall, appropriations of that money must still be worked out, which is where the omnibus spending bill comes in. The deadline for passing it is Dec. 11.

According to a report in the Huffington Post, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated that Republicans could try and tie the must-pass omnibus spending bill to legislation that would make it tougher for Syrian refugees to come to the U.S.

"I think that bill needs to pass and become law whichever way it can," McCarthy said according to the Huffington Post.

Refugee legislation passed out of the House in November (with significant support from House Democrats), but Reid signaled Tuesday that he would prefer the GOP focus on other provisions to stop terrorism. He noted that of the 1,800 Syrian refugees who have come to the U.S. so far, few were military aged men. Most were women, children and "old men" and they were already heavily screened. The process can take up to 18 and 24 months.

“They are more concerned about these handful of Syrian refugees than they are about things that are important like guns in the hands of people on the terrorist watch list," Reid said.

He also noted that Democrats would prefer to focus on making changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from nearly 40 countries to enter the U.S. without a travel visa. In the wake of the Paris attack, there have been wide-spread and bipartisan concerns about potential terrorists from France or other western countries entering the U.S. easily through that program. The White House announced it was making enhancements to the program Monday, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was also expected to unveil her own bipartisan bill to strengthen the program.

About The Author

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.