Miss. Senator Moves to Advance National Security Measure over Democratic Opposition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today voted to advance legislation that would strengthen the vetting process for refugees entering the United States to better screen against terrorists and foreign fighters.

Cochran was among 55 Senators who voted Wednesday to begin debate on the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act. The bill would effectively suspend the admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States until top security officials can certify the integrity of the background checks and are able to declare that each individual refugee does not pose a threat to the United States.

“Events like the tragic attack in San Bernardino have shown that terrorists and terrorist organizations are determined to attack Americans on American soil,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense.

“Deficiencies in current procedures are eroding public confidence in the vetting process. This legislation would obligate federal law enforcement and national security agencies to work together to verify that those who seek to enter our country do not seek to do us harm,” he said.

The SAFE Act (HR.4038) contains some of the most thorough vetting processes ever proposed for refugees entering the United States.

While a majority of Senators supported the SAFE Act, 43 Senate Democrats voted against the legislation, blocking it from reaching the 60-vote threshold necessary to be considered before the full Senate. The House of Representatives passed HR.4038 on a 289-137 vote in November.