Border Security is Not ‘Immoral’
‘The physical barriers at the border that Democrats used to support in past Congresses and in the Obama Administration have not somehow become radical, right-wing positions. Walls and fences still work. Border security still matters. American families still deserve safety. Reality is still reality. And when Democrats are ready to re-accept these realities, they can negotiate seriously with the White House and bring an end to this impasse.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to secure our border and fund the government:
“Although three-quarters of the government is funded and fully operational, important federal functions continue to be unduly affected and hundreds of thousands of federal workers have now missed paychecks. By now, I think everyone in America understands the basic fault lines of this disagreement.
“The new Speaker of the House, the very distinguished Congresswoman from San Francisco, has decided that opposing President Trump comes before the security of our borders. The president has asked for a reasonable new investment: 5.7 billion dollars -- about one tenth of one percent of federal spending -- for the same kinds of border security that prominent Democrats used to brag about supporting.
“For the very same kind of reinforced steel fencing that the Obama Administration bragged about building. For precisely the kinds of barriers that the men and women of law enforcement, there on the ground, insist are vital for their mission. In fact, it’s for precisely the same kind of physical border security in which a number of my Democratic colleagues here in the Senate were perfectly happy to vote to invest billions of dollars, as recently as the last Congress.
“The 2017 funding measure that passed the Senate with 47 Democratic votes included upgraded border fencing. This is 2017 -- just this last Congress. And forty Democrats voted for the bipartisan spending deal that we cleared this past March. It included more than one-and-a-half billion dollars for border barriers. And then, of course, the Appropriations Subcommittee and full Committee approved another $1.6 billion for border security in a bipartisan vote just this past June. Ten of fifteen Committee Democrats voted to report the final package to the full Senate. That’s billions of dollars for physical border security, winning Democrat votes just last year.
“But that, was before we had a new Speaker of the House. That was before Speaker Pelosi and her far-left base decided that the politics of obstruction would come before common-sense policymaking. Here’s how serious the Speaker is about ending the impasse and getting the government re-opened. She now proudly boasts that she would allow exactly one dollar for border barriers. So, there was bipartisan support in the Congress for billions of dollars for physical barriers at the border before Representative Pelosi was Speaker. To now, Congressional Democrats support just $1 for border barriers since she became Speaker. What is the reason for that?
“Earlier this month, Speaker Pelosi declared that the concept of any physical wall on our southern border was -- quote -- ‘an immorality.’ ‘A wall is an immorality.’ That’s what Speaker Pelosi said. That’s not a serious statement. It’s would be laugh-out-loud material if hundreds of thousands of federal workers weren’t going without pay because the Speaker has decided this absurdity is now her party’s official position. ‘Immoral’? Was it immoral for Democrats to vote for the Secure Fence Act in 2006? Was it immoral for President Obama’s Administration to proudly build the same kind of steel-slat barriers that President Trump now wants more of?
“Is Speaker Pelosi calling sitting Senate Democrats immoral, because they voted to invest billions in border security over the past few years alone? I’d like to see how this new philosophical opposition to the existence of walls plays out in practice. Shouldn’t the Speaker introduce a bill to destroy the walls and fencing that already exist? Or maybe, this actually isn’t a new principled stance by Democrats. Maybe this is all one big political game. No negotiations. No collaboration. Political game-playing.
“Consider the latest tactic from my Democratic colleagues: They’ve said the president just needs to drop his request and agree to the Democrats’ plan to re-open the government… and then they’ll talk about border security. Except they couldn’t even keep up that act, either. When President Trump and Speaker Pelosi met last week, the president put the question to her directly. If the government were re-opened, would Democrats after 30 days then compromise and agree to more border security? No, said Speaker Pelosi. No they would not.
“So here we are. Day 24. Because the Speaker of the House has decided that enforcing our own laws is now ‘immoral...’ Because she’s decided it’s better to prolong this partial shutdown than invest more than one dollar in something that both parties agreed was a good idea until about five minutes ago. Funding that Obama Administration border experts continue to argue is a good idea, an essential idea.
“Here in the Senate, I’m sorry to say, my Democratic colleagues seem to have fallen in line. Based on their actions, my colleagues across the aisle seem to agree: It’s better for federal workers to keep going without pay than to invest one one-thousandth of federal spending in the same kinds of border security that they themselves voted repeatedly to fund in just the past two years. I have a hard time believing that every last one of my Senate Democratic colleagues really stands with Speaker Pelosi on this.
“It’s hard to believe Senate Democrats now agree their own recent votes on border security were actually immoral. That it would be better to keep the government shut down than invest one one-thousandth of federal spending in fencing that the Obama Administration bragged about building. It’s particularly hard for me to believe that my distinguished colleagues from the great states of Maryland and Virginia, who are understandably very concerned with the circumstances of the federal workforce, would rather echo Speaker Pelosi’s fringe position than work with the White House to find a real compromise and re-open the government.
“So, what’s happening here is federal workers are paying for this far-left ideological crusade. Lots of American families are facing great uncertainty because Senate Democrats apparently agree that the same kinds of reasonable investments they happily supported last year and the year before have now become completely immoral this year simply because Speaker Pelosi suddenly says they are. Of course, that isn’t really what has happened.
“Enforcing our laws has not become unethical overnight. The physical barriers at the border that Democrats used to support in past Congresses and in the Obama Administration have not somehow become radical, right-wing positions. Walls and fences still work. Border security still matters. American families still deserve safety. Reality is still reality. And when Democrats are ready to re-accept these realities, they can negotiate seriously with the White House and bring an end to this impasse.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Appropriations, Homeland Security, Senate Democrats