(Senate - January 18, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 11 (Thursday, January 18, 2018)]
[Pages S266-S268]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, let's get to the issue at hand. 
Government funding expires at midnight tomorrow and still the House 
Republican majority is moving forward with a continuing resolution that 
is very likely to be unacceptable to the Senate and may well be 
unacceptable to House Republicans. The CR prepared by the Speaker is 
not an honest attempt to govern. As typical of this Republican 
majority, it was done with zero negotiations with Democrats. They could 
get away with that strategy on the tax bill when they forced it through 
reconciliation; they can't here.
  When are our Republican leaders going to learn that the best way to

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govern--the best way to accomplish things--is by talking to us, not 
dropping ultimatums on us that bear none of our input? That is what 
happened with the FISA bill. It nearly went down. That had divisions on 
both sides of the aisle. That is what is happening here, and it doesn't 
look good for the CR coming over from the House for that very reason.
  Furthermore, the CR leaves out so many priorities that the American 
people want and demand--opioids, veterans, pensions. It doesn't resolve 
the fate of the Dreamers. It doesn't include an increase in military 
funding that Members from both sides of the aisle would support. It is 
just another kick of the can down the road because the Republicans--
both in the Senate and the House and the White House--can't get their 
act together.
  Even President Trump tweeted this morning that he opposed including 
CHIP on this bill. Does that mean he is against the CR? Who knows? It 
is a mess. We can't keep careening from short-term CR to short-term CR. 
If this bill passes, there will be no incentive to negotiate, and we 
will be right back here in a month with the same problems at our feet. 
Eventually, we need to make progress on the biggest of issues before 
  Don't ask me; ask Secretary Mattis. When you talk to him, he knows 
how bad it is to continue CRs on the defense side. Why would our 
Republican colleagues go along with that?
  So this CR can't get the job done. House Republicans don't even know 
if they can pass it. Some Senate Republicans, like my friends from 
South Carolina and South Dakota, have said they don't want to vote for 
it. We are going to have to go in a different direction.
  Ideally, we would all roll up our sleeves and try to reach an 
agreement on all of the issues we need to resolve. We can resolve the 
issues of caps for defense and nondefense spending; we can resolve 
disaster relief; we can resolve the healthcare issues; we can resolve 
immigration issues; and we can do all of this in a rather short time 
because work has already been done on each of them for a while.
  We could easily sit down and find a cosmic agreement that would get 
the support of the majority on both sides, in both Houses, and keep the 
government open. Despite all the rhetoric around here, I genuinely 
believe that.
  The one thing standing in our way is the unrelenting flow of chaos 
from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. It has reduced the 
Republicans to shambles. We barely know whom to negotiate with. The 
President, on national television, tells Congress to bring him 
something, and he will sign it. The majority leader says he needs the 
President's imprimatur before we cut any deal. The President is like 
Abbott and Leader McConnell is like Costello: You do it. They point at 
each other and nothing gets done.
  Of course, the principal reason the Republicans are in such disarray 
is, the President and his team have been agents of chaos in these 
negotiations since day one. After all, President Trump was the one who 
said last year that we need ``a good `shutdown' . . . to fix mess!'' 
The President said we need a government shutdown.
  Mr. President, 95 percent of all Americans, I would guess, do not 
agree with you. I would guess in their hearts, 95 percent of all 
Senators and Congressmen--Democratic and Republican--don't agree with 
you, President Trump, when you say we need a good shutdown.
  Don't just ask me. Here is POLITICO. They are a rather down-the-
middle publication. No one thinks they are leftwing or rightwing. No 
one thinks they are FOX or MSNBC. Here is the headline: ``Negotiators 
on Hill find Trump an unreliable partner.'' Lawmakers find it difficult 
or impossible to negotiate when the President can't seem to stick to a 
position for more than a few hours. Let me read the first paragraph of 
this article:

       Donald Trump ran for President as a bipartisan deal-maker. 
     But if there's one thing he's proved after a year in office, 
     he's better at killing bipartisan deals than clinching them.

  Again, that is the first paragraph in this paper. I am going to read 
it again so the American people hear it loud and clear--and I know some 
of the rivals of this publication don't like it too much, but c'est la 
vie. ``Negotiators on Hill find Trump an unreliable partner.'' The 
first paragraph:

       Donald Trump ran for President as a bipartisan deal-maker, 
     but if there's one thing he's proved after a year in office, 
     he's better at killing bipartisan deals than clinching them.

  No truer words were ever written. That is not fake news, Mr. 
President. We all know it to be true.
  Exhibit A, yesterday regarding the discussions on DACA, the majority 
leader said: ``I'm looking for something that President Trump is going 
to support. And he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to 
sign.'' Mitch McConnell said that. He said he still has to ``figure out 
what [the President] is for.''
  How can you negotiate when the President--who has to sign 
legislation--is like a sphinx on this issue or at least says one thing 
one day and another the next?
  The President rescinded DACA 4 or 5 months ago. Had he not rescinded 
DACA, we would not be here today. Remember, the vast majority of the 
American people--even a narrow majority of Trump supporters--support 
keeping the kids here, not sending them home. The President rescinded 
DACA 4 or 5 months ago and told Congress to fix it. Yet the majority 
leader of his party seems to have no firm idea what policy the 
President would support to get that done. At this late hour, that is 
  Exhibit B, the President's Chief of Staff has insisted that Senator 
Cotton and Representative Goodlatte be in the room for negotiations on 
DACA. I have great respect for each of them as individuals--or the 
respect every Senator gives to every other Senator and Member of 
Congress, although I so objected to what Senator Cotton did to Senator 
Durbin the other day. But having said that, there is no deal that 
Senator Cotton or Representative Goodlatte supports that would earn the 
support of the majority in either the House or the Senate.

  If Senator Cotton and Representative Goodlatte, who have opposed DACA 
all along and have basically been strongly anti-immigration, have veto 
power over an agreement, everyone knows there will not be an agreement. 
General Kelly must know that.
  Then, just this morning--exhibit B prime--President Trump rebuked 
General Kelly, his own Chief of Staff, on Twitter for saying that he is 
fighting for a wall different from the one he campaigned on. So that is 
exhibit B on the incompetence of the Republicans on both sides of 
Pennsylvania Avenue--mixed messages, conflicting signals, chaos.
  Exhibit C. Today, with the government shutdown one day away, 
President Trump is off campaigning in Pennsylvania instead of staying 
in Washington to help close a deal. We are 1 day away from a government 
shutdown, and there is no one home at the White House. The President 
should be here negotiating. There is no better evidence that the 
President doesn't give a hoot if the government shuts down than the 
fact that he is away campaigning today, 1 day before the shutdown 
  We have spent the last few months negotiating in good faith with our 
Republican counterparts, trying desperately to find a deal we could all 
live with, but it has been nearly impossible to reach final agreement 
with this President. He has oscillated between completely opposing 
positions in a matter of days, sometimes hours. He has signaled an 
openness to a deal, only to have his staff pull him back. He has given 
only vague indications of what he wants, even at this late hour.
  Mitch McConnell was right; he doesn't know what the President stands 
for. Now Mitch McConnell ought to have the strength and courage to 
start negotiating on his own for the good of the country, but that 
hasn't happened yet either.
  The White House has done nothing but sow chaos, confusion, division, 
and disarray, and it may just lead to a government shutdown that no one 
wants and that all of us here have been striving to avoid.
  The fact remains that there is a bipartisan deal on the table, led by 
Senators Graham and Durbin. Seven Democrats and seven Republicans are 
on the bill right now. I hope and suspect more will join. It includes 
significant concessions from Democrats on

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almost every item the President requested, including his full budget 
request for border security, changes to family reunification--which he 
calls chain migration--and an end to the diversity lottery system.
  There is no other alternative on the table. I repeat: There is no 
other alternative on the table. If my Republican friends want to 
protect the Dreamers, as over 70 percent of Americans say we should, 
this is the deal.
  The White House is not going to help us; we know that. We have to do 
it ourselves. Once we do it, we can solve all of our other problems on 
defense and domestic spending, on healthcare, including CHIP, community 
health center extenders, disaster relief, and more.
  Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work on both sides of the aisle, 
regardless of the dithering, the indecision, and the contradictory 
statements of the White House.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). Without objection, it is so