Syrian Refugees and Congress

The House of Representatives passed a bill which would make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to gain entry to the USA. It is not yet law as the Senate has not passed it, but the fallout from this is hugely important.

Firstly, the Politico article has a wealth of information of party factions for any student studying Parties in Unit 3, especially within the Democratic Party. This could be used to show the ‘big church’ nature of US political parties.

Equally, Obama issued a veto threat of this bill, making veto threats an increasingly used tool in his arsenal. This would seem to suggest a president who’s powers of persuasion are failing and who is more reliant on the blunt tools given to him in the Constitution.

The Politico article also suggests that the passing of this bill has set the stage for yet another shutdown, providing great evidence for the flaws in the US Constitution, where divided government can lead to such inaction.

The Politico article also identifies the power of the Speaker, with Nancy Pelosi asking Speaker Ryan to allow Democrats to vote on an alternative and him refusing – he controls what comes to the floor. By doing so, he shored up votes for this bill.

Finally, the Guardian article discusses the backlash against some of the Democrats who voted for the bill on social media. This is useful for examples of how Congressmen are now more easily accessible by their constituents, but in this case many of them seem to have disappointed their constituents; brave in an election year! Good evidence then for the fact that pleasing the state is not all important for Congressmen.

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