McConnell Urges Democratic Colleagues to Get Past Harmful Political Games, Get Serious About Negotiating With the President
‘We all know what is necessary to move past the funding impasse: A negotiated solution that can pass the House, earn sixty votes in the Senate, and which invests enough in border security to earn the president’s signature. As I’ve stated clearly, the Senate will not waste floor time on show votes, messaging votes, or any other proposals which fail to check those boxes regarding the funding bills.’
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:
“Democrat intransigence has made sure that a quarter of the federal government has been shut down for more than two weeks. Now they’re threatening to shut down the Senate, too. They’ve gotten the government to shut down for two weeks, now they want to shut the Senate down. They’re threatening to shut down efforts to protect our allies and strengthen our relationship with Israel -- something they all recently claim to support.
“Let’s remember what we’re talking about. In light of the urgent humanitarian and security crisis on our border, the president is requesting $5.7 billion for physical barriers and border security. For some context, that is just about one tenth of one percent of federal spending. One tenth of one percent. For physical barriers like the fences and barriers which already exist, which Democrats have previously voted for with enthusiasm.
“Back in 2006, then-Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and our colleague the current Democratic Leader all voted for more than a billion dollars to construct about 700 miles of physical barriers. Then-Senator Obama called it ‘badly needed funding for better fences and better security... that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration.’ That was Senator Barack Obama.
“Senator Schumer later described his vote proudly. Quote, ‘Miles of border fence that create a significant barrier to illegal immigration.’ As recently as 2015, Secretary Clinton boasted, quote, ‘I voted numerous times...to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.’ That’s Hillary Clinton. Well, obviously that was then. Today, the new Speaker of the House is trying to argue that a physical barrier is, quote, immoral. Immoral?
“Today, my friend the Democratic Leader is proposing to add a Senate shutdown to the partial federal government shutdown and block even more of the people’s business -- all to avoid more of what he already voted for. Maybe the Democratic Party was for secure borders before they were against them. Or maybe they’re just making it up as they go along. Or maybe they are that dead-set on opposing this particular President on any issue, for any reason, just for the sake of opposing him.
“Of course walls and barriers are not immoral. How silly. Enforcing our laws wasn’t immoral back in 2006 when then-Senator Clinton, then-Senator Obama, and my friend the Democratic Leader were proud to vote for physical barriers. Well, the only things that have changed between then and now are the political winds and the occupant of the White House. So this is no newfound, principled objection. It’s just political spite. A partisan tantrum, being prioritized over the public interest.
“For more than two weeks, they’ve indulged in that partisan tantrum rather than negotiate in good-faith over border security funding -- hardly something that should be a partisan subject in the first place. They’ve put that partisan tantrum ahead of keeping a quarter of the government open. And now, they’re saying their partisan tantrum is more urgent than pressing legislation that concerns our alliance with Israel or the Syrian civil war. Well, I hope that isn’t the case. I hope that my Democratic colleagues don’t pile on even more pointless obstruction. I hope they don’t block the Senate from turning to this important legislation -- legislation that they support -- later today.
“We all know what is necessary to move past the funding impasse: A negotiated solution that can pass the House, earn sixty votes in the Senate, and which invests enough in border security to earn the president’s signature. As I’ve stated clearly, the Senate will not waste floor time on show votes, messaging votes, or any other proposals which fail to check those boxes regarding the funding bills. And the Democratic Leader has said that he shares that opinion. He said, quote, ‘the president must publicly support and say he will sign an agreement before it gets a vote in either chamber.’ I’m glad we seem to agree at least on that. No wasted floor time on appropriations bills that fail to clear the president’s reasonable threshold.
“For the sake of the humanitarian crisis on our border, as the president will describe in his address to the nation this evening, for the sake of our national security, and for the sake of all the Americans who need all of their federal government re-opened, I urge my Democratic colleagues to get past these harmful political games and get serious about negotiating with the president.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Senate Democrats, Immigration, Homeland Security