The U.S. has accepted only about 1,500 Syrians since civil war broke out more than four years ago.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says about $4 billion the administration has provided to relief agencies and others is the most effective way for the U.S. to help meet the humanitarian crisis in Europe. Tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and other war-torn countries are seeking safe haven across Europe.
But Earnest says Obama has decided that admitting more Syrian refugees would help boost the U.S. response.
The 2016 budget year begins Oct. 1.