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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

After sending a letter to the Commerce Department on Friday about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) refusal to turn over internal documents related to a climate study, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) on Wednesday sent another letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, saying that the NOAA rushed the study to publication.

Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, has been asking the NOAA since July to release internal communications between NOAA scientists regarding a study released in June that contradicted previous studies findings that global warming had slowed. The congressman said in October that the NOAA altered "the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda.” The agency denied the accusation.

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) on Wednesday criticized Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) for rejecting a Syrian refugee family expected to arrive in the state, noting the Indiana governor's support earlier this year for an anti-gay religious freedom bill.

Malloy noted that Pence does not have the legal power to block refugees from living in his state, but said he wasn't surprised by the Indiana governor's move.

"But this is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring surrounded by homophobes," Malloy told reporters, according to the Indianapolis Star. "So I’m not surprised by anything the governor does."

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Senate Democrats are pushing a legislative alternative to stopping the U.S. plan to accept Syrian refugees, which would place restrictions on which Europeans receive visa waivers.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), would keep Europeans who have traveled to Iraq or Syria in the past five years from entering the U.S. without a travel visa, according to The Hill. Under the visa waiver program, citizens from certain European countries can enter the U.S. for 90 days without a visa.

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Rhode Island state Sen. Elaine Morgan (R) wrote in a Tuesday email to a constituent and her fellow state senators that if the U.S. accepts refugees from Syria, they should be placed in refugee camps.

"I do not want our governor bringing in any Syrian refugees. I think our country is under attack. I think this is a major plan by these countries to spread out their people to attack all non Muslim persons," she wrote in the email, according to Rhode Island television station WPRI. "The Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone who is a non Muslim."

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The Chicago city council on Wednesday passed a symbolic resolution in favor of accepting Syrian refugees into the city despite Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's (R) announcement that the state would stop accepting them, NBC Chicago reported.

"It cannot be in this moment when those in France have the courage to commit themselves to their values that we are weakened and walk away," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, according to NBC News. "I'm honored that we've done this resolution. I'm honored that here in Chicago we speak up for what's right."

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Tennessee state Rep. Glen Casada (R) on Wednesday said that if President Obama does not improve the vetting process for Syrian refugees, then states should act to "protect our citizens" by barring refugees from Syria.

Casada on Tuesday joined the chorus of Republican lawmakers calling for Syrian refugees to be barred from their states in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

He told The Tennessean that the state should activate the National Guard to block Syrian refugees from settling in Tennessee and that the state should "gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back" to a federally run immigration center.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Tuesday said that the U.S. should stop taking in refugees from Syria, adding that the U.S. should even bar Christians from Syria.

"We should not be admitting either Muslims or Christians, and you’ll say, ‘Whoa why won’t you want to admit Christians?', because in so doing we would be accomplishing exactly what ISIS wants to accomplish, which is to rid the area of Christians, which is to rid the area of moderate Muslims," Santorum said on Pittsburgh radio show "Rose Unplugged," according to an audio clip highlighted by Buzzfeed News.

"By bringing them here to the United States, they will resettle here and they will never go home, which is exactly what ISIS wants. They want to decimate the Christian communities and take them over and them have controlled by the more radical Muslim elements," he continued

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A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee on Tuesday proposed that the state round up any Syrian refugees currently living in Tennessee and return them to immigration centers run by the federal government.

State Rep. Glen Casada (R), chairman of the House Republican caucus, told The Tennessean that the state should activate the National Guard to stop Syrian refugees "from coming in to the state by whatever means we can."

"I'm not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks," Casada added. "We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, 'They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'"

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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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