The House passed a bill on Thursday that would aim to increase screenings and suspend the program to admit Syrian refugees into the United States.
The vote was 289 to 137 for the measure, which moved forward after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last week. It fell largely along party lines, although dozens of President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats broke with the White House to vote for the bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier that legislation to "pause" the acceptance of Syrian refugees into the United States was "an urgent matter" to protect Americans from possible infiltration by Islamic State militants. He said we "must remember that our first priority is to protect the American people."
The measure would require the FBI to conduct background checks on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It would oblige the heads of the FBI and Homeland Security Department and the director of national intelligence to certify to Congress that each refugee "is not a threat to the security of the United States."
The bill passed the house after a series of attacks in Paris left 129 dead and hundreds more injured.
FBI Director James Comey said Thursday he was not aware of any "credible threat" in the United States. He added that the agency is "watching people of concern" in the U.S. using all legal tools.