Congress

Democrats who voted for Syrian refugees bill span regions, views

A Syrian refugee, who agreed to be photographed on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation against family living in Syria, poses for a portrait on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley in Whitehall, Pa. The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to impose heightened screening measures for Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to resettle in the U.S. Forty-seven Democrats voted for the bill.
A Syrian refugee, who agreed to be photographed on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation against family living in Syria, poses for a portrait on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley in Whitehall, Pa. The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to impose heightened screening measures for Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to resettle in the U.S. Forty-seven Democrats voted for the bill. AP

“I want to be nice to the world,” Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., declared on Thursday. “But I want to be nice to my people first.”

About an hour later, Scott walked into the House of Representatives chamber and became one of 47 Democrats who broke party ranks and voted for a Republican-sponsored bill to halt Syrian and Iraqi refugees from resettling in the United States unless they’ve been individually certified by the heads of the nation’s key national security agencies as not posing a threat to the country.

The 47 Democrats appear to be ideologically and geographically all over the map. There’s eight Californians - Reps. Pete Aguilar, Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Jim Costa, John Garamendi, Janice Hahn, Scott Peters and Raul Ruiz.

There’s Scott, who belongs to the 15-member centrist Democrat Blue Dog Coalition, and Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Immigration Task Force and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

There’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a second-termer from sunny Honolulu and Rep. Louise Slaughter, a 15-term veteran from sometimes frigid Rochester, N.Y.

And 13 of the 47 are members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents. That link was first reported Thursday by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill publication.

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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