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(CNN) The House of Representatives passed a bill late Tuesday afternoon that would prohibit the federal government from accepting new Syrian refugees, raising fears that President Barack Obama’s administration could face major blowback as Congress moves to close the door on the thousands of Syrian refugees already in the United States and ramp up its efforts to resettle the thousands more it has decided to bring in.
The bill was approved on a 231-185 vote, the first time the legislation has passed the chamber since Obama took office. Seven Democrats voted in support, including California Rep. Nancy Pelosi. A vote by the full House was scheduled to occur Wednesday morning.
Some Republicans and conservative groups have criticized Obama for letting more Syrian refugees into the country over fears the new arrivals pose a security threat. There has been debate in Congress about how the President should address that question, with opponents pointing to intelligence reports that some of those refugees may be a threat even when they are not known or have no ties to terror groups. Others — such as former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and others in Congress — cite studies that say there is little evidence that refugees carry the same amount of terrorism threat.
The bill is likely to be debated on the House floor Wednesday or Thursday and is expected to pass.
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Senate passes refugee bill
The Senate passed its version of the bill Wednesday afternoon. A vote for the broader Senate bill is scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday evening and will be followed next week by votes in the House.
The House bill passed as one piece, but it includes an amendment from Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., that would make it harder for the President to waive the Refugee Act. The Senate bill, of which the legislation was the first, does not include such a provision.
The White House expressed disappointment with the move, but White House Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the administration believed the measures it supported “would not have a significant impact on the process.”
In the House bill, the legislation passed Tuesday night allows the President
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