Ignoring a veto threat by President Obama, the House voted on Thursday to add a series of extra checks for refugees from Syria and Iraq who are trying to enter the United States, as almost four dozen Democrats broke ranks with the White House to give the bill a veto-proof supermajority.
“Today the House put politics aside to help keep the American people safe,” said Speaker Paul Ryan after the vote, as 47 Democrats joined with the GOP to add extra checks by the FBI and U.S. Intelligence Community to check for terrorist links among those asking for refugee status.
“We must and are obligated to review our existing procedures, and that’s all this bill does,” said Rep. Brad Ashford (R-NE), one Democrat voting for the Republican plan.
“We need to make sure that no terrorists slip in,” said Rep. David Scott (D-GA), one of two Georgia Democrats who voted against the President.
“We are not there yet,” Scott told reporters just off the House floor.
The final margin would have been enough to override a veto by President Obama:
There were two Republicans who voted against the bill – Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA).
Democratic leaders tried in vain to keep more of their rank-and-file with the White House.
“The Republican bill on the floor today fails to meet our values,” argued House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who watched seven of her fellow Democrats from California vote against the President.
The plan now goes to the Senate, where Democrats vowed to block it.
“Don’t worry, it won’t get passed,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.
Any fight on the Senate floor won’t happen until after a Thanksgiving break.