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Defying Obama, US House votes to halt Syrian refugees

Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 10:35 AM
Washington, Nov 20: Defying President Barack Obama's veto threat, the US House easily passed a bill to halt the inflow of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until key national security agencies certify they don't pose a security risk.

Thursday's House vote in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks on Paris was 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining 242 Republicans in favour of the bill, just nine votes short of a two-thirds majority needed to override Obama's veto. It also faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid said he will try to block the bill. But the high number of Democrats voting for the bill was worrisome for the White House.

The administration's veto threat "baffles me," Republican House speaker Paul Ryan said, "especially given the fact that his own law enforcement top officials came to Congress and testified that there are gaps in this refugee programme."

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson Thursday praised the House for passing a bill that could limit the intake of Syrian refugees, calling it a positive step. During a campaign stop in Alabama earlier, he compared safeguarding Americans from Islamic terrorists who may sneak into the country as refugees to parents protecting their children from rabid dogs.
Agency: IANS
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