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FACT CHECK: Edwards’ Actions on Syrian Refugees Speak Louder than Vitter’s

Summary: John Bel Edwards has taken a serious approach to the Syrian refugee issue in Louisiana, including having meetings with public safety officials over the weekend. He supports a refugee moratorium to keep Louisiana safe, and both the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association and the Louisiana State Troopers Association have endorsed John Bel Edwards.

Meanwhile, Senator Vitter skipped a Senate committee hearing on Syrian refugees one month before the Paris tragedy and was fundraising off of the tragedy within 24 hours.  Vitter, a career Washington politician, has even voted multiple times to cut national defense funding, which endangers our country and Louisiana.

 

JOHN BEL CALLED FOR LOUISIANA TO STOP ACCEPTING REFUGEES AND TO FOCUS ON PUBLIC SAFETY, NOT PARTISAN POLITICS

 

Both John Bel And Vitter Called For A Moratorium On Placing Refugees In Louisiana. “Both Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter have called for a moratorium on the placement of Syrian refugees in Louisiana following the attacks. The two face each other in Saturday’s runoff.” [The Advocate, 11/16/15]

 

John Bel Called For Louisiana To Stop Accepting Syrian Refugees. “Both Republican Sen. David Vitter and Democratic State Rep. John Bel Edwards have called for Louisiana to stop accepting Syrian refugees in the wake of ISIS’ deadly attacks in Paris… ‘[I]t’s imperative for us to pause the influx of refugees flowing into our state without more information on the security measures in place,’ Edwards said.” [WGNO, 11/15/15]

 

John Bel Called On The State To “Put Aside The Partisan Rhetoric And Work Together To Keep People Safe.” “’News reports indicate that more than a dozen refugees have made their way to Louisiana,’ said Rep. Edwards.  ‘While we understand the need to provide a safe haven from those facing persecution, we cannot do it at the expense of the safety of our people here in Louisiana.  This isn’t political.  We have an obligation to put aside the partisan rhetoric and work together to keep our people safe.’” [John Bel Edwards Release, 11/16/15]

 

WHILE JOHN BEL WAS BEING BRIEFED ON THE STATUS OF THE REFUGEES IN THE STATE VITTER WAS CAMPAIGN OFF THE ISSUE

 

John Bel Was Briefed Throughout The Weekend By Law Enforcement Officials on The Status Of Syrian Refugees In Louisiana. “Edwards’ campaign said over the weekend he was in contact with Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson, as well as Mike Ranatza of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association about the status of refugees in Louisiana. ‘News reports indicate that more than a dozen refugees have made their way to Louisiana,’ Edwards said in a statement. ‘While we understand the need to provide a safe haven from those facing persecution, we cannot do it at the expense of the safety of our people here in Louisiana. This isn’t political. We have an obligation to put aside the partisan rhetoric and work together to keep our people safe.’” [John Bel Edwards Release, 11/16/15]

 

Vitter Sent Out Robocalls That Focused On Syrian Refugees The Day After The Paris Attack And Encouraged Voters To Sign A Petition Against The Refugees So He Could Collect Information On Them. “Vitter, in particular, has taken to the Syrian refugee issue, urging voters to sign a petition ‘against Syrian refugees coming into Louisiana.’ (As The Advocate has repeatedly pointed out, these types of petitions essentially carry no weight but serve as a way for campaigns to collect information on potential voters.) On Saturday, several Louisiana residents said they received a robocall from Vitter that focused on Syrian refugees coming to Louisiana.” [The Advocate, 11/16/15]

 

VITTER SKIPPED A HEARING ON SYRIAN REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT ONE MONTH BEFORE THE PARIS ATTACKS

 

Vitter Is On The Subcommittee On Immigration And The National Interest. [Senate Judiciary Subcommittees, About]

 

10/1/15: Vitter Did Not Speak At A Committee Hearing Syrian Refugee Resettlement. According to a transcript of Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest’s hearing on the refugee resettlement program, David Vitter did not speak.   [Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest Holds Hearing on Refugee Resettlement transcript, 10/1/15]

 

10/1/15: Video Of The Committee Hearing Showed Vitter Was Not In Attendance. [CSPAN, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest Holds Hearing on Refugee Resettlement, 10/1/15]

 

The Committee Hearing Was Specifically To Address Syrian Refugee Settlement In The United States. SESSIONS: “The hearing today will focus on the administration’s proposed Refugee Settlement (sic) Program for fiscal year 2016. In particular, we will examine the economic and security implications of the administration’s plan to boost significantly the admission of refugees to nearly 200,000 over two years, including a large increase in Syrian resettlement.” [Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest Holds Hearing on Refugee Resettlement transcript, 10/1/15]

 

VITTER EVEN VOTED TO CUT BILLIONS FROM OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE SPENDING, BELOW A LEVEL THE PENTAGON CALLS “DEVASTATING”

 

Vitter Voted For FY 2014 Paul Budget Plan. In March 2013, Vitter voted against” Paul, R-Ky., substitute amendment no. 263 that would call for a balanced budget in five years with no revenue increases. It would allow up to $942.6 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2014, including $529.2 billion for defense. It would assume repeal of the 2010 health care and financial regulatory overhaul laws and assume a tax code overhaul that would eliminate the estate and capital gains taxes and switch to a flat tax system. It would assume changes to Medicare to provide seniors the same health insurance as members of Congress and assume a gradual increase in the eligibility age for Social Security from 65 to 70 over 20 years. It also would assume the elimination of the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education and Energy departments.” The amendment was rejected 18-81.  [CQ, 3/22/13; S.Amdt.263 to S.Con.Res. 8, Vote 69, 3/22/13]

 

Paul Budget Allocated $526 Billion For National Defense In FY 2014. “Mr. Paul’s budget allocated $526 billion for national defense in 2014 and $5.6 trillion for national defense over the next 10 years.” [Washington Times, 3/22/13]

  • United States Is Spending $716 Billion On National Defense In FY 2013. “U.S. defense spending is expected to have risen in 2012, to about $729 billion, and then is set to fall in 2013 to $716 billion, as spending caps start kicking in.” [Washington Post, 1/7/13]

 

Vitter Voted For FY 2013 Paul Budget Plan. In May 2012, Vitter voted for a: “Conrad, D-N.D., motion to proceed to the concurrent resolution that would allow $3.084 trillion in new budget authority for fiscal 2013, not including off-budget accounts.” The motion was rejected 16-83. [CQ, 5/16/12; S.Con.Res. 42, Vote 100, 5/16/12]

 

  • Millbank: Paul Budget Reduced “Defense Spending By Nearly $100 Billion Below A Level The Pentagon Calls ‘Devastating.’” Dana Millbank wrote in the Washington Post: “The tea party darling’s plan would, among other things, cut the average Social Security recipient’s benefits by nearly 40 percent, reduce defense spending by nearly $100 billion below a level the Pentagon calls “devastating,” and end the current Medicare program in two years — even for current recipients, according to the Senate Budget Committee staff.” [Washington Post, Dana Millbank, 5/16/12]

 

Vitter Voted For FY 2013 Toomey Budget Plan.  In May 2012, Vitter voted in favor of a “Conrad, D-N.D., motion to proceed to the concurrent resolution that would allow $2.843 trillion in new budget authority for fiscal 2013, not including off-budget accounts.” The motion was rejected 42-57. [CQ, 5/16/12; S.Con.Res. 37, Vote 99, 5/16/12]

 

  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Toomey Budget Would Endanger Important Programs Such As Law Enforcement. “Like Chairman Ryan, Senator Toomey would cut funding for non-defense discretionary programs by $1.2 trillion over ten years below the levels agreed to in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA). It will be difficult to comply with the BCA limits themselves without damaging important programs such as law enforcement, veterans’ health care, education, and biomedical and scientific research.  Cutting funding by an additional $1.2 trillion would make it almost impossible to avoid such outcomes.”  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/6/12]