UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--H.J. RES. 1; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 5
(Senate - January 10, 2019)

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[Page S115]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 6, H.J. 
Res. 1, making further continuing appropriations for the Department of 
Homeland Security. I further ask that the joint resolution be 
considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I will not prolong this because I know a lot of my 
Democratic colleagues on the floor may want to speak, but there are two 
shutdowns going on here. The first one related to the government can 
only be solved with a Presidential signature, supportive of the Speaker 
of the House and supportive of at least 10 of our Democratic 
colleagues--or 7 on the other side. In other words, there has to be a 
deal, an agreement.
  There is a second shutdown going on that, as far as my research can 
discover, is rather unprecedented. The Senate itself is being shut down 
because of the refusal of our colleagues on the other side to do 
business in the Senate during this period. There is no precedent for 
that. There is no reason for that. We are all here.
  The bill they are refusing to let us get on relates to Israel, our 
great friend Israel, and addresses the atrocities that have been 
occurring in Syria.
  I am having a hard time understanding why the Senate should be shut 
down as well as the government. We are all here. In fact, attendance 
looks pretty good, and I don't know why we can't process bills that the 
vast majority of us support.
  I had hoped to pass all of these bills at the end of last session. We 
had some last-minute objections--and I will say on our side--and so we 
were unable to do it, but the vast majority of the Members of the 
Senate do want to process these bills.
  So I would hope, no matter how you view the government shutdown, that 
there is no real significant reason to shut down the Senate.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. We are clearly not shut down. We are all here.
  I would say to the majority leader, if you go to a lot of Federal 
Agencies right now, no one is there. They are shut down. They can't do 
the work of the American people, which is why the FDA is no longer 
doing important food inspections on seafood. It is why the EPA is not 
able to inspect major polluters to protect the public health. We are 
  All we are saying is, we want our first order of business to be to 
also open the eight of nine Federal Departments that have nothing to do 
with a wall or border security. The EPA's work has nothing to do with a 
wall. The work the FDA does on food inspection has nothing to do with a 
wall. So pass the measures that have already been agreed to in the U.S. 
Senate on a bipartisan basis. Open those eight of nine Departments at 
funding levels the Senate supported to the end of the fiscal year. 
Then, with the Department of Homeland Security, do exactly what the 
majority leader proposed right here and which we supported just a few 
weeks ago so we can work with the President. I mean, he walked out the 
other day, but we would like to work with the President to resolve 
  What we are saying is, we are open, and we want to focus on the 
urgent business of reopening the rest of the Federal Government, both 
to provide the American people with the services they paid for and to 
make sure Federal employees don't go without paychecks.
  I will tell you, your phones will all be ringing off the hook 
tomorrow when Federal employees begin to miss that first paycheck. I 
will tell you, GS-2s, GS-3s in the Federal Government, they are one 
paycheck away from not being able to pay their bills.
  On top of that, you have small businesses all over the country--I 
have heard from my Republican colleagues, small businesses that 
contract with the Federal Government, they are being squeezed. One in 
the State of Maryland, nonprofit small business, laid off 173 people 
just yesterday. The Federal contractors' employees? They are not coming 
to work. They are shut out, and they are not getting paid.
  So this is having an increasingly harmful effect every day on people 
throughout the country, and we have it in our power today to vote on 
bills we have already voted for in the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan 
basis to reopen.
  We should not be accomplices to the shutdown the President said he 
would be proud of. We should say today, we are proud to cast our first 
vote, as the House did, to reopen the Federal Government and get people 
back to work.