Senate to Vote this Week to Re-Open Government, Fund Border Security
‘The opportunity to end all of this is staring us in the face. That’s why we will vote on this legislation on the Senate floor this week. All that needs to happen is Democrats agree it is time to put the country ahead of politics, take ‘yes’ for an answer, and vote to put this standoff behind us.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Democrat obstruction and the President’s plan to re-open the closed portions of the federal government, fund border security and address additional immigration measures:
“Here’s what happened this weekend with respect to the continuing disagreement over funding the government. Two things happened over the weekend…
“On Saturday, the Senate was in session, and members of both parties came here to the floor to speak about the urgent need for a bipartisan compromise to re-open the federal government.
“For the sake of federal workers who need certainty and for the sake of the American people who need their nation’s government fully online.
“Also on Saturday, President Trump rolled out a bold, comprehensive offer to do just that. It would break through this stalemate that would re-open government swiftly and deliver on a number of other policy priorities that are seen as crucial on both sides of the aisle.
So that’s where we are on day 32 of this partial government shutdown. That’s where we are as this new week begins.
“We’ve heard members of Congress on all sides demanding a resolution to this impasse and a plan to quickly restore full funding to the federal government… and we now have a plan from the President that would do exactly that, and quickly -- while incorporating both the bipartisan work of the Appropriations Committee and bipartisan proposals on current immigration issues.
“The opportunity to end all of this is staring us in the face. That’s why we will vote on this legislation on the Senate floor this week. All that needs to happen is Democrats agree it is time to put the country ahead of politics, take ‘yes’ for an answer, and vote to put this standoff behind us.
“To be clear, the proposal outlined by the President that we’ll consider here in the Senate is the only proposal currently before us that can be signed by the President and immediately reopen the government.
“First and foremost, it’s the only proposal that would reopen the government fully and immediately. But it’s not merely a continuing resolution. It wouldn’t kick the can down the road. Instead, it would fulfill the Congress’ responsibilities -- without footnotes, without caveats, without hitting snooze. This measure would wrap up last year’s historic progress on appropriations. It would pass all seven remaining regular-order funding bills and deliver supplemental funding for disaster recovery.
“Importantly, it’s also the only proposal that would deliver a comprehensive investment in our nation’s border security. To be clear, that’s comprehensive by the standards of Border Patrol experts, the men and women on the ground.
“The bill would provide funding for each of the CBP’s top ten priority investments for border security, including a substantial investment in enhanced surveillance technologies, funding for the recruitment and training of 750 new Border Patrol agents… and $5.7 billion for the construction of a physical barrier along the highest-priority areas of the southern border.
“In addition to these measures -- similar to ones that earned strong bipartisan support in the past -- the legislation would take significant steps to modify certain areas of immigration policy. For example, it would grant three-year lawful status for certain currently-enrolled DACA recipients and individuals under TPS. These are areas where Congressional Democrats have expressed vocal interest.
“Now they are included in a comprehensive proposal to open the government, fulfill our promise to federal employees, and address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. It’s a proposal that the President will support. As I have stated consistently over the past month, that fact will earn it consideration here in the Senate.
“A fully reopened federal government. Certainty and stability for federal employees once again. The bipartisan appropriations legislation this body worked out together. The full investment in border security that the experts on the ground say they need. And changes to our immigration policies that are similar to ones Democrats have themselves been fighting for.
“To reject this proposal, Democrats would have to prioritize political combat with the President ahead of federal workers, ahead of DACA recipients, ahead of border security, and ahead of stable and predictable government funding. Is that really a price that Democrats want to pay to prolong this episode, which they say they want to be over and done with?
“Is their plan truly to throw federal workers, DACA recipients, Customs and Border Patrol, and indeed all Americans under the bus just to extend this run of political theater? So they can look like champions of the so-called ‘Resistance’?
“Well, that’s what some leading Democrats tried to assert right out of the gate, before they’d even really studied the President’s new proposal. Speaker Pelosi came out right away and tried to rally her troops. She immediately described the President’s proposals as ‘unacceptable.’
“That’s not exactly surprising, considering that just a few weeks ago, the Speaker went way out on a limb and declared that physical border security is on its face, quote, ‘an immorality.’ But not every Democrat seems to see it that way. And how could they. One Democrat from the state of Washington admitted, quote, ‘the wall is not in itself a bad idea… it’s been done.’ Another from Illinois asserted, quote, ‘If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our border safe, all of that is fine.’ And one of the Speaker’s fellow members of the California delegation said, quote, ‘We will support border security… all of its elements including fences.’ This is just a small sampling of House Democrats’ actual views about the merits of border security. These quotations don’t even begin to touch all of Democrats’ demands that we reopen government right away…and their past calls to bring more certainty to the individuals affected by DACA and TPS.
“So on one side of the scale we have all of my Democratic colleagues’ declarations that we must reopen the rest of the federal government and get federal workers their paychecks…We have their statements and past votes that show they believe securing our border with some physical barriers is a good thing…And we have their stated desire to help out a number of individuals with a more certain immigration status.
“That’s one side of the scale. All that’s on the other side is the far left’s political animus for the occupant of the White House. It is high time to get serious. Even the Washington Post’s editorial board, which is no fan of the President and does not support every piece of his compromise proposal, had this to say about Democrats’ outright refusal to negotiate: ‘To refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers and contractors… a measure of statesmanship for a member of Congress now is the ability to accept some disappointments, and shrug off the inevitable attacks from purists, if it means rescuing the lives of thousands of deserving people living among us.’
“If even the Washington Post believes my friends the Democratic leaders’ total refusal to negotiate has grown very stale, you have to believe many of their own members must be starting to feel the same way.
“The President has made a comprehensive and bipartisan offer that would accomplish everything Democrats have said needs to be accomplished right now. It’s a strong proposal. It’s the only thing on the table. And later this week, we will vote on it.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Immigration, Homeland Security