Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

President Obama on Tuesday night tore into Republicans' recent focus on barring Syrian refugees from the United States following the terrorist attacks in Paris, mocking conservatives for suddenly being scared of "three-year-old orphans."

During a press conference with the president of the Philippines, Obama was asked about lawmakers' concern about the U.S. plan to admit additional refugees from Syria.

Obama said that the U.S. is "not well-served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don't make good decisions if it's based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks."

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Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chairman of the House Science Committee, on Friday made another attempt to force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to hand over internal documents about a study on climate change.

Smith wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Pritzker, calling on her to direct the NOAA to comply with Smith's subpoenas, Ars Technica reported.

The House Republican has been pressing the NOAA for months for more information on a June study in an attempt to show that researchers altered data to prove that global warming has slowed over the past few years. The study released by the the NOAA in June contradicted some previous studies that found that global warming had slowed.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday clarified that he believes the U.S. should continue to accept refugees from Syria.

Over the weekend, as many conservatives called for restrictions on refugees from Syria in light of the recent attacks in Paris, Bush said that the U.S. should focus on bringing over persecuted Christians from Syria.

"The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria. Which means the safe zones need to be serious," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think or focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore. They're being beheaded, they're being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help."

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More than two dozen governors this week have said that their states will not accept refugees from Syria in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris, yet states do not have the authority to turn away refugees.

Admission for immigrants and refugees is decided at the federal level and states have no "formal" role in the process, according to Kathleen Newland, co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday joined the chorus of Republican governors and Republican presidential candidates pushing for restrictions on U.S. admission of Syrian refugees, but he said he would even oppose allowing 5-year-old Syrian orphans into the country.

"I don’t trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in, in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in," Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

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As numerous Republican governors announce that they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states, members of Congress have started to put pressure on Congressional leaders to restrict funds allocated for settling refugees from Syria from the government spending bill.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Monday wrote a letter to his colleagues urging them to restrict President Obama's ability to increase funding allocated for settling refugees in the U.S.

Sessions wants Congress to vote on Obama's plan to accept refugees, which is currently included in the funding bill that must pass in December.

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Georgetown University will rename two building on campus that honor former presidents who organized the sale of slaves to a Louisiana plantation to help pay off the school's debt.

Mulledy Hall, a student dormitory that opened this year, was named for former university president Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, who organized the sale of 272 Jesuit-owned slaves to a plantation owner in Louisiana in 1838. When Georgetown reopened the newly renovated building, current university President John J. DeGioia established a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, acknowledging the school's history with slavery and Mulledy Hall.

"Though Fr. Mulledy contributed much to our University, his actions represent a difficult past that is contrary to the values and mission of our University—a mission that we affirm and seek to strengthen in our examination of this history and its impact on our current moment," DeGioia said in a statement announcing the new Mulledy Hall dormitory.

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CNN's "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper on Sunday grilled former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his criticism of Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democratic presidential candidates' refusal to use the term "Islamic terrorism," even though former President George W. Bush similarly maintained that Islam is a peaceful religion following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

During the Saturday Democratic presidential debate, Clinton said she agreed with George W. Bush that the U.S. is not "at war with Islam." Her comments drew the ire of numerous conservatives, including Jeb Bush, who emphasized on Twitter that "we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism."

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Updated at 10:18 a.m. on Nov. 17

Following the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris, conservative politicians in the U.S. were quick to pressure American leaders to halt efforts to admit Syrian refugees into the country.

The governors of Michigan and Alabama were the first to announce that they would not accept Syrian refugees. And by Tuesday morning, 27 governors in the U.S. announced that they opposed admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S. and into their states.

Numerous governors announced that they would outright refuse to support federal government efforts to settle Syrian refugees in their states. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an executive order on Monday telling state agencies to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in the state.

"All departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect," the order reads.

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