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Carson to Congress: Block funding for Syrian refugees resettlement

The Obama administration's plan to resettle Syrian refugees is facing new challenges following the Paris terrorist attacks and its funding could be targeted next.

On Monday, Ben Carson called on GOP leaders in Congress to move legislation that would block federal funding for the plan to resettle refugees or migrants from Syria.

"The national security of the American people demands that the Congress swiftly extinguish any programs that might allow an ISIS terrorist to infiltrate the United States disguised as a refugee or migrant," the GOP presidential candidate wrote in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

Carson added, "There can be no disputing the fact that the United States cannot, should not, and must not accept any Syrian refugees" after the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

Starting Sunday, at least eight governors have already ordered their state agencies to refuse Syrian refugees or have called for the suspension of the resettlement programs until the federal government thoroughly explains the vetting process.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, on Monday sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee with proposed language regarding the administration's resettlement plan and its funding. He claimed the plan to take in 85,000 refugees over the next year will cost more than $55 million. President Obama's plan allows for 10,000 refugees from Syria.

A spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to a request clarifying the cost of the plan.

Sessions' proposal, among other things, would require Congress to hold a standalone vote on the refugee resettlement plan, which would then "unlock funding" for it.

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential contender, tweeted Monday that Speaker Ryan needs to take action and reject the plan.

If @SpeakerRyan will not lead & reject the importation of those fleeing the Middle East he needs to step down today & let someone else lead.

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 16, 2015

On Monday, Ryan said in a radio interview with the Salem Radio Network that he has asked congressional committees to prepare recommendations regarding the resettlement plan for Syrian refugees.

"So we're looking at all of our options about how do we make sure that something like this doesn't happen, coming here to us with refugees," Ryan said.

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has stood by the plan to accept Syrian refugees and criticized Republicans at a press conference at the G-20 summit in Turkey on Monday for calling for a religious test for the refugees.

As the administration's plan faces a strong backlash from Republicans, the funding issue could pose a significant hurdle over the next few weeks as Congress works to pass a government spending package by Dec. 11 and avert a shutdown.

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