syria

Democrats Slam White House Messaging On Refugee Bill

Pelosi, D-Calif. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 24 hours, House Democrats have gone from opposing the GOP  proposal to tighten the United States' screening of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to supporting the bill in large numbers.  

The shift is due to a number of factors, including pressure from constituents to take action this week — as well as frustration with the White House's inability to offer a compelling reason to wait. "What they should be doing is accepting the bill and offering to work with all of us on both sides to make it workable," said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., of administration officials.  

House Democrats Plan Alternative to Syrian Refugee Bill

Lofgren tried to get changes made to the GOP refugee bill due on the floor Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.  

The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.  

House's Muslim Members Brace for Charged Terror Debate

Ellison, in 2011, arrives to testify at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Updated 5:30 p.m. | The two Muslim members of the House share the sentiments of their fellow Democrats: Under no circumstances should the United States block Syrian refugees from this country in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris..  

But for Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and André Carson of Indiana, there's a greater sense of urgency in how Congress responds to the violence at the hands of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, that has a stranglehold in Syria. Ellison and Carson live and work in a political environment where “Islam” is often paired with the phrase “radical,” and many Republicans argue the only way to prevent “Muslim extremists” from coming to the United States is to bar entry of all asylum seekers from Syria.  

Using Rachmaninoff to Send a Message

Royce advocated for a no-fly zone at a Thursday event to bring awareness to the Syrian refugees in Turkey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Like many teenage boys, Tambi Cimuk visited the Lincoln Memorial and the White House on his first visit to Washington. Unlike most teenagers, he also played Rachmaninoff in the Rayburn Foyer.  

“Oh my God, yeah, he is very unbelievable," Cimuk said when asked if Rachmaninoff is his favorite composer. "Russian music is special, it’s very powerful."