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House Speaker Paul Ryan Wants Obama to 'Pause' the Syrian Refugee Program: ‘Better to Be Safe Than Sorry\


"Our nation has always been welcoming, but.."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) arrives for a House Republican caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. Ryan has said he is willing to be the next Speaker of the House if all House Republicans endorse him for the position. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Newly minted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Tuesday called for the White House to "pause" their Syrian refugee resettlement program, citing national security risks in the wake of last Friday's terror attacks in Paris.

"We have ... a refugee situation that we think requires a pause and a more comprehensive assessment of how to better guarantee that members of ISIS are not infiltrating themselves among the refugee population," Ryan told reporters following a closed-door meeting with House Republicans.

"Our nation has always been welcoming, but we cannot let terrorists take advantage of our compassion," he added. "This is a moment where it’s better to be safe than to be sorry."

However, Ryan did say that it is important for the United States to have a functioning refugee system in place.

"It’s important that we have a refugee system in place. We respect that," the Wisconsin Republican continued. "But we think it’s simply prudent that for this particular program in this particular situation that we be better guarded against any possible infiltration of ISIS coming through this program."

Ryan also told reporters that he has tasked House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) with leading a committee of six "key" committee chairmen who will look at ways to combat the threats being posed by the Islamic State. The task force will also attempt to address the Syrian refugee crisis.

At the state level, more than 30 state governors over the last few days have vowed to deny the relocation of Syrian nationals to their states.

In September, the White House announced a plan to increase the number of refugees accepted into the United States in 2016 from 70,000 to 85,000, with 10,000 of those planned to be from Syria. But Ryan and other House leadership are now moving quickly to draft legislation that would put a temporary block on those plans, according to Politico.

Tuesday afternoon, Wall Street Journal reporter Katrina Peterson tweeted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has decided to support Ryan's plans.

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