Speaker Paul D. Ryan is laying the groundwork for the House's active engagement in the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.
The Wisconsin Republican asked the Obama administration to provide lawmakers with classified briefings in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 shootings and bombings carried out by Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, he said Monday morning in an interview on Bill Bennett's radio program. Ryan said he also instructed the House committees of jurisdiction to make policy recommendations for how the U.S. might continue letting Syrian refugees into the country without risking a deadly attack.
Ryan Calls for Classified Briefings After Paris Attacks (Audio)
One of the suspected perpetrators of the Paris attacks is believed to have entered Europe through Greece on a Syrian passport, obtained by someone pretending to be one of the thousands of migrants fleeing Syria's violence and political upheaval.
"We have always been a generous country" when it comes to immigration, Ryan told Bennett. "This is a unique situation."
Ryan also didn't foreclose the possibility that relevant provisions could be added to the omnibus spending bill, which Congress must pass by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown.
"We're looking at all of these options," he said.
Later this week, six House appropriations subcommittee chairmen will hold "listening sessions" on issues in their purview , a chance for members to weigh in on policy riders as the omnibus is drafted. Texas Republican Reps. Kay Granger and John Carter, who oversee the State-Foreign Operations budget and funding for the Department of Homeland Security, respectively, could hear an earful from colleagues at the forums they are scheduled to host.
On the surface, the tragedy in Paris transcends partisanship, with Republicans and Democrats equally horrified by the events that transpired and concerned about what could come as a result.
But Ryan is making it clear, in his rhetoric and eagerness for his members to have a voice on the issue, that someone in particular is partially to blame: President Barack Obama.
"A containment strategy is not enough; that has completely failed," Ryan said. "So what we're seeing, in my opinion, is the president's reluctance to take this threat fully and seriously. For a year. we've been asking for a strategy to defeat ISIS; there simply isn't one.
"It's obviously a horrible, coordinated terrorist attack," he continued. "We have to see this for what it is: This is a war, they've brought it to us. So the question is, how do we finish it?"
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