Senate to Consider Government Funding Bill
‘The Senate will continue our work on the remaining bills -- the products of much bipartisan hard work and collaboration. And in the meantime, we will turn to a clean continuing resolution later today. So that we can make sure we don’t end this year the way we began it -- with another government shutdown because of Democrats’ allergy to sensible immigration policies. We need the government to remain open for the American people. We need to wrap up our work for this year.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Senate consideration of the government funding bill and the need to secure our border:
“First, for the information of all senators: Later this morning, we’ll introduce a continuing resolution that will ensure continuous funding for the federal government. The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th.
“Let’s review why this step was necessary. Even in the face of a great need to secure the border, and following good-faith efforts by the president’s team, our Democratic colleagues rejected an extremely reasonable offer yesterday. It would have cleared the remaining appropriations bills -- which had received bipartisan support in committee -- and provided an additional $1 billion to tackle a variety of urgent border security priorities.
“I’m sorry that my Democratic colleagues couldn’t put partisanship aside and show the same good-faith flexibility that the President has shown in order to provide the resources our nation needs to secure the integrity of our borders and the safety of American families. But this seems to be the reality of our political moment. It seems like political spite for the president may be winning out over sensible policy -- even sensible policies that are more modest than border security allocations which many Democrats supported themselves, in the recent past.
“But faced with this intransigence -- with Democrats’ failure to take our borders seriously -- Republicans will continue to fulfill our duty to govern. That’s why we will soon take up a simple measure that will continue government funding into February: So we can continue this vital debate after the new Congress has convened. Because, make no mistake -- there will be important unfinished business left in front of us. And we’ll owe it to the American people to tackle it.
“Just last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, told our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee that the United States faces, quote, ‘a border security and humanitarian crisis.’ These are some of the facts. In the past year alone, we saw a 30% increase in apprehensions by the CBP, including nearly 6,700 apprehensions of individuals with criminal histories and a 50% increase in apprehensions of known gang members. We’ve seen a 75% spike in methamphetamine seizures since FY 2015. So it is quite obvious that shoring up our borders is an urgent need of our national security. An urgent need. Secure borders are what the American people expect and deserve. That’s why it continues to be a major focus of President Trump and his administration.
“Already, the president’s approach to border security is yielding undeniable results. In each of four CBP sectors where physical barriers have been improved or expanded -- El Paso, Yuma, Tucson, and San Diego -- illegal traffic has dropped by at least 90%. And while you wouldn’t know it from listening to the far-left special interests, this administration’s focus on border security actually follows similar commonsense efforts that used to be bipartisan consensus points in years past.
“In 2006, the Secure Fence Act -- which was designed to strengthen physical security measures at the border -- received the support of no fewer than 26 of our Democratic colleagues, including the current Democratic Leader along with Senators Feinstein, Carper, Nelson, Stabenow, Wyden and Obama. In 2010, President Obama signed a bill to increase the CBP’s physical presence at the border. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent, by the way.
“So let’s not pretend there is some bright line of principle that separates the billions of dollars that our Democratic colleagues were willing and eager to spend on border security in the recent past and the resources now requested by the president and his team. There’s no big difference of principle. There’s just been a shift in the political winds on the far left. This is knee-jerk, partisan opposition to the administration’s reasonable and flexible requests. This is making political obstruction a higher goal than the integrity of our nation’s borders. It’s political spite. And the American people know it when they see it.
“The Senate will continue our work on the remaining bills -- the products of much bipartisan hard work and collaboration. And in the meantime, we will turn to a clean continuing resolution later today, so we can make sure we don’t end this year the way we began it -- with another government shutdown because of Democrats’ allergy to sensible immigration policies. That’s what they did at the beginning of the year. We need the government to remain open for the American people. We need to wrap up our work for this year. And I hope that my Democratic friends return next year ready to join the president, this Senate majority, and the American people in our desire to secure our border.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Homeland Security