Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) joined about 50 Democrats and more than 200 Republicans in approving the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act. He said his vote was not about preventing refugees from coming to the U.S., but rather it was about ensuring the safety and security of the residents of southeast Iowa.
"My most important job as a member of Congress is to keep the United States safe," said Loebsack. "I take an oath of office to protect us from enemies, both foreign and domestic."
The SAFE Act requires the FBI to make sure refugees from Iraq or Syria receive a background investigation before they are admitted into the U.S. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence must also sign off to Congress that the refugees are not a threat.
"I'm in favor of taking even more refugees than the President is, but we have to do it under the right conditions," said Rep. Loebsack. "The President, the administration, and the FBI Director in particular has said himself that there are gaps in this process."
During a stop in Keokuk, Loebsack said he has not heard enough convincing evidence from the White House that this extra layer of scrutiny will add time to what is already a lengthy process.
"I don't want to delay them anymore, I just want to make sure America remains safe," said Loebsack. "It just adds another measure of assurance to the American people that we are not going to have terrorists coming from abroad."
The Department of Homeland Security would also have to report to Congress each month on the vetting process and admissions/denials, if the legislation becomes law.
President Obama has said he would veto the bill.