Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

Articles by Lauren

Republicans have included a rider in a must-pass spending bill that enhances screening for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Democratic leaders rejected it, raising the stakes for a game of chicken over government funding.

Congressional leaders have already set spending caps, but are up against a Dec. 11 deadline to determine how that money should be spent. Controversial riders like the one on refugees endanger the process of meeting the deadline and expand the possibility that lawmakers may need to pass a short-term spending bill to extend the deadline to Dec. 18.

While Republicans and Democrats alike dismiss that there is any real threat of a shutdown, the issue of refugees specifically has the potential to trip up the ongoing negotiations over the omnibus spending bill.

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans and Democrats had a lot of work to do before the holiday break. Not on the list? Making it harder for Syrian refugees to come to America.

“We have a lot to do and a lot of things to worry about, but refugees is not one," Reid said in response to a question about whether or not inserting language to slow the flow of Syrian refugees could be a poison pill for the omnibus bill.

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The Republican-controlled Senate is moving forward with plans to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and gut Obamacare despite a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that left three dead and nine injured.

"It's not like it's new around here," the Senate's No. 3 Republican John Thune told reporters late Monday when asked how the shooting may change the political calculus. "It's a vote we expected to have."

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The Obama administration urged members of Congress Monday to stop criticizing Obama's strategy against the Islamic State and instead funnel their frustration into passing an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).

“For more than a year, Congress has been AWOL on their responsibility to pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which would demonstrate to our allies and to our enemies that the U.S. is united in its efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said according to a report in the Hill.

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The Obama administration announced Monday it was taking steps to crack down on security shortcomings in the visa waiver program that allows visitors from 38 countries around the world to come to the U.S. with ease.

While much of the American political scrutiny after the Paris terrorist attacks has revolved around the dangers of admitting Syrian refugees, many of the attackers in Paris were citizens of Western countries who would have been eligible to travel to the U.S. without much scrutiny. Refugees, meanwhile, undergo a rigorous background check process that can take up to two years. Democrats in Congress tried to refocus legislative changes from barring refugees to increasing scrutiny on the visa waiver program.

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