Securing Our Nation's Borders Must Be A Priority
‘So I am glad that productive discussions are continuing at this hour between my friend the Democratic Leader, the Democratic Leader in the House, and the White House. When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all of those parties, it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.’
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:
“I have on a red sweater this morning in the hopes that Christmas is not too far away for all of us, including the Members of Congress. With that in mind, let me give everyone an update on where we are.
“Yesterday, the Democratic Leader and I reached a procedural agreement to create space for the ongoing negotiations over government funding. To provide flexibility as the White House and Senate Democrats continue their discussions, the Senate officially proceeded to the House-passed funding legislation. But we did so with the understanding that no further votes will occur until the president and Senate Democrats have reached a substantive agreement to resolve this. Let me say that again. We’ve pushed the pause button until the president, from whom we’ll need a signature, and Senate Democrats, from who we’ll need votes, reach an agreement. No procedural votes. No test votes. Just a meaningful vote on a bipartisan agreement when one is reached. And it’s my hope that it’s reached sooner rather than later.
“It is no mystery why securing our nation’s borders is such a major priority for Republicans in the Senate, and Republicans in the House, and for President Trump. Any look at the plain facts leads to one single conclusion: The crisis of security at our southern border is real. Over the past year, Customs and Border Protection’s records of apprehensions and interdictions at our southern border are literally staggering.
“Eight hundred known gang members -- a fifty percent increase over last year. Nearly seven thousand individuals with criminal histories, including weapons trafficking and violent offenses. More than double the levels of fentanyl, along with other illicit substances. So the report card is quite clear. America’s borders are in crisis. These facts I’ve stated are not partisan. They aren’t ideological. They are just facts. They don’t describe the Republican Party’s version of events or the President’s version of events. They describe reality. One would think that securing our homeland, controlling our borders, and protecting the American people would be bipartisan priorities. Uncontroversial, commonsense bipartisan priorities. A core duty of any nation’s government. And here’s the interesting thing: Until very recently, that seemed to be the case.
“Back in 2006, Democrats were perfectly happy to support hundreds of miles of physical barriers along the border. Twenty-six Democrats voted for the bill, including then-Senator Obama, then-Senator Clinton, and my friend the current Democratic Leader from New York. What about more recently? Earlier this very year, the Democratic Leader offered $25 billion for physical barriers in his negotiations with the President. Five times as much as the White House is reasonably requesting right now.
“Republicans in the House and in the Senate believe the House’s provision for $5 billion in border funding plus additional disaster funding was completely reasonable. I was glad to vote to advance that legislation yesterday. My colleagues and I are proud to stand with the American people on this subject -- for the safety of American families and the health and security of our communities. But this time, Democrats have rejected that reasonable request. They’ve refused to meet President Trump halfway and provide even one-fifth of the resources for the border they were willing to provide just a few months ago.
“There is no bright line of principle that separates hundreds of miles of physical barriers in 2006 from new physical barriers in 2018. There is no major philosophical shift that made $25 billion for border security worthwhile a few months ago but makes a far more modest investment of $5 billion immoral and unacceptable today. No, Democrats haven’t rejected the president’s request -- and invited this partial government shutdown -- because of some principled objection that they just discovered in the last few weeks. They’ve brought this about because they’re under a lot of pressure—we all know this-- from the far left of their party and feel compelled to disagree with the president. That is where we are. But we don’t need to be here for long.
“In order to get us out of this mess, a negotiated solution will need to check these boxes. It’s really simple. It will need the support of 60 Senators -- which will obviously include a number of Democrats. It will need to pass the House. And it will need a presidential signature. That’s how we make a law in this situation. Sixty votes in the Senate, a majority in the House, and President Trump’s signature. That’s what’s needed. That is what will end this regrettable episode, re-open the lapsed portions of the federal government, and produce the investment in border security that our nation really needs. So I am glad that productive discussions are continuing at this hour between my friend the Democratic Leader, the Democratic Leader in the House, and the White House. When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all of those parties, it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Appropriations, Homeland Security