Senate to Vote Today on Compromise to End Government Shutdown
‘We’ll be voting on the one plan -- the only one on the table -- that could reopen the shuttered portions of the federal government… So the choice is clear and the nation is watching. Members can vote to immediately reopen the entire government with a compromise package that the president will sign. Or they can hold out for the Democratic Leader’s dead-end proposal that stands no chance of earning the president’s signature and ending this partial shutdown.’
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 re-open the government:
“Later today -- on Day 34 of this partial government shutdown -- the Senate will be voting on a proposal to end it. We’ll be voting on the one plan -- the only one on the table -- that could reopen the shuttered portions of the federal government. A pragmatic compromise that could end this impasse right away. So the choice is clear and the nation is watching. Members can vote to immediately reopen the entire government with a compromise package that the president will sign. Or they can hold out for the Democratic Leader’s dead-end proposal that stands no chance of earning the president’s signature and ending this partial shutdown.
“The president’s compromise would accomplish three key things. First, it ends the shutdown and resumes pay for federal workers right away. Second, it strikes a bipartisan compromise on the issue of immigration and border security with ideas from both sides. And third, it provides stable, full-year funding for the federal government – not another short-term band-aid.
“So, first -- ending the shutdown. We’ve heard from federal workers whose lives are in disarray. We’ve heard about the family hardships caused by Democrats’ unwillingness to sit down and negotiate with the president. We’ve heard from those who’ve endured over a month without pay. We’ve heard from the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, air traffic controllers, TSA agents, other federal employees. And every American deserves a fully-operational government. Taxpayers aren’t getting special tax refunds for these weeks when services and agencies have been diminished or unavailable.
“The president’s been at the negotiating table, ready to talk and fix this. Democrats have made the opposite political calculation. And our nation is paying the price. But the way forward is simple. We all know the ground rules. We need a compromise that can pass both chambers and earn the president’s signature. And the first proposal we will vote on today is the only legislation that exists, period, with any chance of checking those boxes.
“Now -- on immigration and border security. This legislation provides the resources that the men and women who risk their own safety to defend our border tell us are necessary. In the past year, they’ve watched as apprehensions of family units at the border have risen -- more young people brought into danger. They’ve seen more interdiction of illicit substances like heroin, methamphetamines, and fentanyl, and higher rates of attempted crossings by gang members and criminals. The need for more security on our border is not a partisan invention. It is a fact. It’s a reality most Senate Democrats readily admit. ‘I’m willing to support more border security,’ said one.
“‘Certainly, you need barriers. And we support barriers,’ said another. Not to be outdone, a third said, quote, ‘I’m a huge advocate of border security.’ Well, if they agree with the need, they should agree with this modest proposal. It would fund new enforcement and surveillance technologies, recruiting and training hundreds of new Border Patrol agents. And it would direct about one one-thousandth of federal discretionary spending for physical barriers along the highest-priority sections of the border. Barriers like the ones that the current Democratic Leader joined then-Senators Obama, Biden, and Clinton in supporting back in 2006. Like the barriers constructed by President Obama’s own administration. Like the barriers in which many of my Democratic colleagues happily voted to invest billions of dollars during just the last Congress.
“So these commonsense physical barriers were a bipartisan point of agreement until about five minutes ago. But the president went even further to win Democrats’ support. For example, his proposal also provides for three-year legal status for certain individuals currently covered by DACA and TPS. That’s what this law provides. The border security we need plus actual, statutory authorization for DACA recipients -- written in law, for the first time. Not the unilateral hand-waving of the Obama Administration.
“And finally, this bill would complete the full-year appropriations that both parties worked out last year. The last thing we need is another temporary measure. Last year’s appropriations process left stable, bipartisan funding measures on the one-yard line. We don’t need to punt from the one-yard-line and set up another crisis just like this a couple of weeks from now. We need to finish our work and run these seven, full-year, bipartisan funding bills into the end zone.
“So let me conclude by simply stating what will be on display in this chamber today. The American people will see plainly which senators want to make a law and clean up this mess, and which senators are content to continue making political points and nothing else. Making law versus making points. That’s the choice. Any one of my Democratic colleagues who reject the compromise offer but vote for the Democratic Leader’s partisan showmanship will be saying the following: They’ll be saying that political fights with the president matter more than federal workers and their families, border security, DACA and TPS recipients, and government funding.
“Let me say that again. If my Democratic colleagues reverse their voting records on border security, if they decide that spending one one-thousandth of federal spending on Obama-style steel barriers has become totally impermissible just because President Trump is in the White House, then they will be saying that political games outrank federal workers, the Coast Guard, DACA recipients, TPS recipients, and all their constituents -- as far as this Democratic Party is concerned.
“Deep down, my friends across the aisle know this is not a reasonable reaction to a president of the other party. They know the Speaker of the House is unreasonable on these subjects, with her own members and her own House Majority Leader openly contradicting her on national television, and that Senate Democrats are not obligated to go down with her ship. They know that denying the president one-tenth of 1% of spending for needed border security is not worth hurting this many people.
“It’s obvious what the Senate needs to do. Today, we’ll decide whether we turn a new corner and begin putting the last month behind us, or whether we will all continue to show up for work, stuck in exactly the same situation. Only one bill does all the bipartisan things I’ve discussed. Only one bill has any chance of becoming law. So, we ought to vote for it.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Homeland Security, Senate Democrats, Appropriations