Syrian Refugee Crisis is First Real Test for Ryan, McConnell Leadership Capability

It’s been years since any legislating on Capitol Hill could be described as efficient.

But as Republicans watched the crisis in Paris unfold, coupled with President Barack Obama’s plan to allow thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S., GOP leaders produced a coordinated response — at least for now. In doing so, Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have so far sidestepped the messy, charged fights that have come to split the Republican Party and typify the modern-day Congress.

On Thursday, the House will vote on a bill that is aimed at stepping up background checks before Syrian and Iraqi refugees are let into America — an idea first envisioned by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). It’s almost certain to pass the House with some level of Democratic support. And the tactics GOP leaders used to quickly unify their party behind a single idea — described by multiple lawmakers and aides involved in the discussions — could be instructive when envisioning how the next two years might work on Capitol Hill.

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