Senate to Vote Tomorrow on Plan to Re-Open the Government, Fund Border Security
‘Our federal workforce and the American people deserve better. I can’t believe the bulk of my Democratic colleagues really see opposing the president as more important to their constituents than restoring full government function, paying our federal employees, securing the border, and more certainty for the DACA population. When we vote on the president’s plan tomorrow, we’ll see what each Senator prioritizes.’
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:
“Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on the plan put forward by President Trump to re-open the closed portions of the federal government right away, increase security on our southern border, deliver disaster recovery funding, and address some outstanding immigration issues. By way of reminder, this is a compromise measure that was carefully designed to include the kinds of ideas Democrats have been eager to support, including quite recently.
“First and foremost, the legislation would end this partial shutdown and bring all parts of the federal government back online for the American people. Normal operations would resume. Federal workers would receive back-pay and continue to be paid. This could happen quickly.
“The bill also takes a compromise approach to the underlying disagreement that brought us to this point. It would fully fund the border security priorities identified by the men and women working on the ground: Investments in surveillance and security technologies. In recruiting and training new Border Patrol agents. And, yes, additional funding for physical barriers like the walls and fences which Democratic Senators used to boast about voting for and which President Obama’s administration bragged about building.
“Of course, the reality in divided government is that negotiations do not leave either side with their perfect plan. So the president went out of his way to include additional items that have been priority areas for Democrats. For example, the proposal would grant three-year lawful status for certain currently-enrolled DACA recipients and individuals under TPS. And finally, the White House proposal also includes all seven of our regular-order appropriations bills, the product of bipartisan work in this body and the House throughout last year.
“So, the president’s compromise offer should command serious consideration in both houses of Congress. On Day 33 of this partial government shutdown, we have before us a bill to immediately reopen the federal government, deliver all remaining full-year appropriations measures, support disaster recovery efforts, fully fund comprehensive border security priorities, and address some outstanding immigration issues. It’s hard to think of a good reason to oppose this. But my Democrat friends are trying to come up with something -- anything -- to justify prolonging the stalemate.
“I have a great deal of respect for my friends across the aisle. But it’s getting downright silly. Yesterday, the Democratic Leader announced that he was denouncing President Trump’s proposal because, quote, ‘there were no serious negotiations with any Democrat.’ It would appear my friend is offended that he wasn’t consulted while this compromise was under construction. Let’s stop and think about that for a minute.
“For days -- weeks, now -- the American people have seen the Democratic Leader and the Speaker of the House make a public strategy out of refusing to negotiate. They’ve said this publicly. They’ve announced they are not interested in a negotiated solution to this impasse. Not interested in meeting the president halfway on immigration policy or anything else. Happy to keep the government closed unless and until everyone agrees to move forward in their preferred manner with no concessions and nothing for border security.
“That’s been the Democrats’ public stance. Our friends across the aisle have said repeatedly that they have no intention to negotiate out of this stalemate. The Speaker of the House joked that she’d allow ‘one dollar’ for physical barriers, like wall fencing. That’s why they have turned away from multiple opportunities to negotiate at the White House in recent weeks. So my friend across the aisle is attempting quite the two-step, here.
“First, the Democratic Leader repeatedly said he wasn’t interested in any talks at this point. But then, when President Trump puts forward a proposal to move us forward, my colleague complains that he wasn’t consulted. Well, the press and the American people are picking up on the strangeness of the Democratic leaders’ strategy of refusing to even negotiate.
“Here is one headline from a newspaper editorial that echoes this growing national sentiment: ‘Trump made an offer -- it’s time for Democrats to start negotiating.’ And there was this from the Washington Post: ‘to refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers... 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.’
“And there are signs that Democratic members in both chambers are starting to come to the same conclusion. Starting to reject their leaders’ refusal to even negotiate. Here’s what a few of our Democratic colleagues here in the Senate have said in recent days:
“‘I personally don't think that a border wall is in and of itself immoral.’
“‘Everybody is for border security... There are places a wall makes sense...’
“And here’s a few of our Democratic colleagues over in the House:
“‘If we don’t compromise, the American people are the ones who get hurt.’
“‘If I had the opportunity to vote for some sort of a deal, I would.’
“‘There is common ground… we do have to figure out how to secure our borders.’
“Even Speaker Pelosi's own House Majority Leader broke completely with her extreme position in a television interview yesterday. When asked if he'd personally be open to wall funding, Congressman Hoyer replied, ‘Look, I think physical barriers are part of the solution.’ When the news anchor pressed him on Speaker Pelosi’s statement that a wall is immoral, Majority Leader Hoyer replied, ‘it depends on what a wall is used for, whether it's moral or immoral. If it's protecting people, it's moral... that's not the issue.’ He continued: ‘We want to make sure that people who come into the United States are authorized to do so... we're for border security and I think we can get there.’
“So more and more Democrats seem to be coming to the same conclusion as the rest of us. It’s time to make a deal. And fortunately, a deal is on the table. It’s a deal for everyone who’d rather reopen the government, invest in border security, and secure more certainty for DACA recipients than sacrifice all that for the sake of this radical new position that physical barriers like walls or fencing are inherently immoral.
"The president has produced a fair compromise that pairs full-year government funding with immigration policy priorities from both sides. Enough political spite. Enough showboating for ‘the Resistance.’ Enough refusing to join in talks and then complaining you weren’t consulted. Our federal workforce and the American people deserve better. I can’t believe the bulk of my Democratic colleagues really see opposing the president as more important to their constituents than restoring full government function, paying our federal employees, securing the border, and more certainty for the DACA population. When we vote on the president’s plan tomorrow, we’ll see what each Senator decides to prioritize.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Appropriations, Homeland Security, Immigration