GOVERNMENT FUNDING; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 7
(Senate - January 14, 2019)

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[Pages S182-S186]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           GOVERNMENT FUNDING

  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, over the weekend, as you may have heard, 
our government set a new record. It wasn't for the number of roads 
being built or repaired in this country. It wasn't for higher math 
scores or graduation rates for kids in the United States of America. It 
wasn't for passing the most bills or investing the most dollars in our 
future. It wasn't for paying attention to the next generation of 
Americans. It was for the longest shutdown in the history of the United 
States--a selfish act taken by partisan politicians that is an 
embarrassment to our country and to our future.
  It has been 24 days. We have Federal employees all over the State of 
Colorado and I am sure the State of Alaska, the Commonwealth of 
Virginia, as we heard before, who are out of work because of what 
Washington has done to them. It is nothing they have done. They have 
fulfilled their end of the bargain. But because we have a screw loose 
around here because we are the only modern, industrialized country in 
the world that shuts down its government for politics--our allies don't 
shut down their government for politics, and our foes don't shut down 
their government for politics. No local government shuts down its 
government for politics. No school district shuts down its government 
for politics. No State would ever think of doing it. No elected 
official at any level of those governments would show their face in the 
grocery store on the weekend after they shut down the government and 
said to the citizens of Alamosa or the citizens of Durango or the 
parents in Denver public schools: Sorry. Your kids can't come to school 
today because we are shutting down the government for politics.
  It is ridiculous.
  I met an air traffic controller today who got her check on Friday 
after she worked through the entire holiday. She had a kid. I don't 
know how old he was, but he was a baby who had to be carried. She 
worked the entire holiday, was separated from her family, got her check 
on Friday, and it was for 77 cents. The people in this body might as 
well be standing outside and lifting their middle finger at her and at 
the TSA workers who were there today at Denver International Airport 
making sure that we were safe, that the traveling public was safe, and 
who were not getting paid, unlike the people here during this shutdown.
  By the way, that airport, which we are very proud of in Denver and in 
Colorado, the Denver International Airport, is the newest airport that 
has been built in the United States of America, and it was built almost 
a quarter of a century ago because we are not making the investments 
that anybody else in the world is making.
  As I said, no other advanced country in the world shuts down its 
government for politics. I expect us to have disagreements. We should 
have disagreements, but we shouldn't shut down the government over this 
disagreement. It has been 24 days.
  While we were shut down, other countries were actually investing in 
their future.
  In the last 24 days, South Korea broke ground on an expanded bullet 
train outside their capitol of Seoul.
  While we were shut down, Canada announced support for a new 5-
megawatt geothermal plant--the first of its kind in that country.
  India issued tenders to set up 7.5 gigawatts of new solar capacity.

[[Page S183]]

  New Zealand announced millions in new resources to improve the safety 
of rural highways.
  You should see our rural highways. And it is not just this shutdown; 
it is a decade--a decade of fiscal fights made in the name of fiscal 
responsibility that have put us in the position for the first time 
since the Vietnam war and before the Vietnam war to see our 
unemployment rate falling and the deficit going up.
  This same wrecking crew who called Barack Obama a Socialist and a 
Bolshevik and was incapable of bringing themselves to help at a moment 
when our unemployment rate was at 10 percent and we were at the depths 
of the worst recession since the Great Depression has now closed the 
government and given us a $1.5 to $2 trillion deficit while the 
unemployment rate is falling. And every one of them promised their 
constituents and my constituents that these tax cuts would pay for 
  God knows, when they add it up, what this shutdown is going to cost 
the American people. It is not saving them money.
  Vietnam opened a new international airport near Halong Bay to attract 
tourists and boost the economy.
  Singapore is preparing an Underground Master Plan to maximize its 
urban space by moving things like data centers, utilities, and water 
reservoirs below ground.
  A new report shows that for the first time ever, Germany drew more 
energy from renewable sources than coal in 2018.
  Ireland, in contrast to what I was just saying about the United 
States of America, ended the year with a budget surplus. Imagine the 
flexibility it gives legislators and policymakers there to think, what 
are we going to do with this surplus? How are we going to invest in the 
next generation? How are we going to shore up our equivalent of Social 
Security? Maybe we can have a real middle-class tax cut or lift some 
people out of poverty in our country. We can't ask those questions 
today because of our fiscal imbalance and because the Government of the 
United States is shut down.
  While we were shut down, other countries moved forward with a trade 
partnership that excludes the United States. Once it is fully in place, 
it will represent a trading block of nearly half a billion consumers 
whom our manufacturers should be selling to and our small businesses 
should be exporting to.
  Not surprisingly, China has been extremely busy over the last 24 days 
while we have been shut down. While we have been shut down, China 
landed a spacecraft on the dark side of the Moon. That has never 
happened before in human history. There was a time in our history--you 
will remember it--when the Russians launched Sputnik. That caught our 
imagination. John F. Kennedy said: We are going to put a man on the 
Moon within the decade. That is what he said. That is what we did. Now, 
because of the fecklessness of this Congress, did you know that America 
cannot send an astronaut into space without asking the Russians for 
permission to ride on one of their rockets?
  A whole generation of Americans that I was part of was inspired by 
the space mission that NASA led. Unfortunately, in my case, it did not 
lead me to understand anything about mathematics or science, but it 
inspired us as Americans to have a big vision for what our country 
could do and for what our country could do in competition with our 
adversaries around the world.
  Do you think the Chinese are not observing what we are doing while 
they are putting a rocket, a spaceship on the dark side of the Moon for 
the first time in human history--something they will always be able to 
claim; something we will never be able to claim? Do you think the 
Russians know that we can't put somebody up on the space station if we 
want to, that we have to wait for them to let us do it? Just after they 
put that spaceship on the other side of the moon, China announced that 
it is planning another mission to the moon by the end of the year and a 
mission to Mars by as early as 2020.

  It announced that it is planning to invest in 4,200 miles of new 
railway lines this year, including almost 2,000 miles of high-speed 
rail. Do you know how many more that is than we have? About 2,000, and 
that says nothing about the investments that they have already made.
  They have begun operating new high-speed rail lines in East China and 
Northern China with initial speeds of 155 miles per hour while our 
government is closed. That is another plan; that is another set of 
tracks. China has plans for a 6-gigawatt wind farm on the border with 
Mongolia that, once completed, would become the largest in the world. 
China continues its pursuit of a vast space-based communications 
network that will cover every inch of the Earth. If we are not 
careful--if we are not careful--they are going to deploy 5G a lot more 
quickly than we will. That is what the rest of the world is doing while 
we are shut down.
  My view of this is that we don't need to wait for the President on 
this. That is what the majority leader keeps saying. He keeps saying: 
Well, I can't pass something the President will veto because it will 
not become law.
  I don't understand the logic of that, speaking of math. We passed a 
bill in this Senate--this Republican-controlled Senate; I think it was 
virtually unanimously--to keep the government open. The House of 
Representatives passed a very similar bill to keep the government open, 
and in the middle of this, in the midst of all of this, President Trump 
said: I am not going to accept that because I am going to use this 
moment to extort Congress for $5 billion for my wall.
  He said to the people he refers to as ``Chuck and Nancy'': Give me 
the $5 billion.
  They said: Why don't you just open the government? The Senate has 
passed it almost unanimously, and the House has passed it.
  His answer was ``because I will lose leverage,'' meaning: I will not 
have the misery I am creating for the Federal workforce. I will not 
have people who can't pay their mortgage, who can't pay for their early 
childhood education, who can't pay for their education. I will not have 
their misery to use to extort Members of Congress into giving me $5 
billion for my wall.
  This is notwithstanding the fact that he promised over and over and 
over again when he was running for President that Mexico would pay for 
the wall. That is not my talking point; that is not my coming out here 
and being unfair and trying to exploit a weakness or a misstatement. I 
think it is fair to say that almost all of his campaign was based on 
the idea that there was going to be a wall and that Mexico was going to 
pay for the wall. He could not have been clearer about that.
  Now he's trying to shut down the government because he knows that 
Mexico will not pay for the wall. The rest of us knew the whole time he 
was telling America untruths about it. He has now turned, instead, to 
the American taxpayer to say: OK. I wasn't telling the truth about it 
then, but don't pay any attention to that. You now have to pay for the 
  Our first response to that is: No, you haven't even spent the money 
that has been appropriated for the wall to date. He has not built an 
inch of the wall. Look it up.
  The second problem is that anybody who has studied this question for 
any moment of time knows that his proposal is a waste of money for the 
United States. I am not going to be lectured by anybody on the other 
side about the need for border security. I was part of the Gang of 8 
that negotiated the immigration bill in 2013. That was a bill that had 
not $5 billion of border security in it, not $2.3 billion of border 
security in it, but $46 billion of border security. It got 68 votes in 
the Senate, never went to the House, was never allowed to have a vote 
because of the tyranny of the so-called Hastert rule, which requires 
people not to vote their conscience but to vote only along party and 
partisan lines--another disgraceful chapter in modern American 
political history. That $46 billion in that bill doubled the number of 
security agents at our border. It built 350 miles of what the President 
now refers to as steel slats, as if he invented that idea. It made sure 
we could see every single inch of our border.
  If the Chinese are going to be able to see every single inch of the 
world, the least we could do is see every inch of our border, and in 
that bill we were able to do that.

[[Page S184]]

  Meanwhile, he tells his base--and FOX News repeats it every single 
night--that Democrats are for open borders; Democrats are for 
terrorists pouring in over the southern border.
  I have become convinced--and we spent years working on immigration, 
years working on border security, years working with my most cherished 
Republican colleagues on this issue in a bipartisan way--that the 
President doesn't want the wall. He wants the entertainment of the 
wall. He wants to rally his base around the wall. Meanwhile, he is 
taking the leading economy in the world, a country with the largest 
capacity for self-defense in human history, and he has shut down its 
government over a $5 billion, phony wall. It is a disgrace.
  It is a disgrace for all hard-working Federal workers--and their 
families who depend on them--who are out of work, who are being 
furloughed, who aren't being paid. It is a disgrace for every person 
who works in State and local governments and in school districts all 
across this Nation, who would never think about shutting down their 
government but who understand what they possess as civil servants is a 
sacred trust to their community and to the next generation of 
Coloradans or of folks from New Hampshire or of Alaskans or of 
  We can't wait for the President--and I will finish with this--because 
he either doesn't want the wall or he doesn't have the capacity to get 
to a solution to it.
  So we have to do our work as Senators. We have to vote to reopen the 
government. If that were put on the floor tomorrow, it would pass, and 
I will bet that it would pass with a veto-proof majority. Why? Because 
the constituents of everybody in this place would say: Are you out of 
your mind? Don't come back here and have another townhall and explain 
why you shut down the government over politics.
  Instead, Democrats and Republicans should come together in this 
Chamber and set an example for the American people and say: All is not 
lost. This exercise in a democratic Republic is going to live to fight 
another day. We have come to our senses. We are not going to beat our 
own constituents to death for the purpose of empty partisan slogans or 
ideas that aren't going to advance the interests of the next generation 
of Americans.
  I worry every night that I am here about what kind of history the 
next generation of Americans is going to write, about what we did when 
it was our responsibility to make sure that we fulfilled our commitment 
to them, the same ones that generation after generation after 
generation of Americans have fulfilled for people who came after them. 
That is what it means to be a citizen in a Republic like ours.
  We are violating every norm of that approach to the work and allowing 
our competitors around the world to create advantages for themselves 
and potential liabilities for us. We shouldn't let this thing go into 
the 25th day or 26th day or 27th day. We should end it now.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. HASSAN. Mr. President, I rise today to join my Democratic 
colleagues in sharing stories of what we are hearing from our 
constituents who are being impacted by this government shutdown.
  I want to take a minute to thank my friend and colleague from 
Colorado for his thoughtful and comprehensive and passionate remarks 
about where we are and why. This is a needless and terrible exercise in 
politics, and we need to reopen the government.
  This senseless shutdown has been dragging on now for weeks, affecting 
vital government services and leaving many Federal workers without pay. 
With every day that passes without a resolution, hard-working people 
are dealing with greater uncertainty, and many are facing tough choices 
in order to protect their families and the way of life they have worked 
so hard to build. Like many of my colleagues, I have heard from a 
number of people throughout my State who have been affected by this 
  On Friday, I visited two nonprofits in New Hampshire, the Nashua Soup 
Kitchen and the Community Action Partnership--most of us know it as CAP 
of Strafford County--which provides vulnerable people with shelter, 
food, and support. They are now in danger of being unable to provide 
services that are a critical part of our safety net. They also fear an 
increase in demand for those services because unpaid Federal workers 
will be turning to them for help.
  Federal employees and others affected by the shutdown in New 
Hampshire have also written to my office to describe the hardships they 
are facing and to urge us to reopen the government. One of those 
Granite Staters has been an air traffic controller for close to 19 
years. Sadly, on Christmas Eve, her mother passed away, leaving her 
with a terrible loss but also with the stress and expenses of a 
funeral, all while having to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On 
top of that, now she has not received a paycheck for that work.
  She wrote:

       The government shutdown has been the last thing on my mind. 
     But now the realization of not being able to pay my mortgage, 
     credit cards from Christmas-time, and now this funeral is too 
     much to bear.

  She put it simply, saying:

       My colleagues and I deserve better.

  I also heard from a Granite Stater who works for the IRS. He wrote to 
me saying:

       The prospect of not having a paycheck for an extended time 
     is causing sleepless nights, and I am recovering from an 
     extended bout of pneumonia that ended up putting me in the 
     hospital right before Christmas. . . . My wife is worried 
     about the bills for that. Last night, I worked pushing out 
     the car payments. Today I applied for unemployment for the 
     first time in 25 years, and talked to my mortgage company.

  He continues:

       All this was under control a month ago, but now has me 
     worried, and is costing me charges and interest.
  He also detailed his concerns about a coworker who is terrified of 
losing her home if she is not able to pay her mortgage and of another 
who is waiting to address a health issue until she has a paycheck 
again. He said of him and his fellow Federal workers:

       We are hardworking, dedicated employees. Our jobs involve 
     long hours, nights away from home, and risks to our health 
     and safety. . . . All I want is to do my job and be paid 
     fairly for it.

  Finally, I heard from a Granite Stater whose husband is in the Coast 
Guard and recently relocated to New Hampshire. She said:

       To say this shutdown is impacting us is an understatement.

  She wrote that she and her husband recently relocated to New 
Hampshire and spent every last penny purchasing a home in the State 
where they first met.
  She said:

       We knew it was going to be tight with our two paychecks, 
     but we would have enough to make ends meet. . . . That all 
     changed after Christmas when we were informed that our 
     President was prepared to shut down the government over a 

  Since then, she and her husband have watched, hoped, and prayed that 
funding would come because now they fear they are going to have to call 
family members to beg and to borrow money to pay their mortgage and not 
go in default.
  As bad as the direct impact of this situation is on Federal workers 
and on some of our most vulnerable and on people and small businesses 
who rely on government services, the shutdown also has ripple effects 
on other people and businesses across our State.
  We must do better. The President's politically motivated crisis is 
devastating for too many hard-working families in New Hampshire and 
across the country. They deserve better than being used as pawns for a 
campaign slogan created by President Trump.
  It is time for these games to stop, for the President's shutdown to 
end, and for our government to reopen. We need a vote on the floor of 
the Senate on the bipartisan bills that we already passed that would 
reopen this government with a veto-proof majority.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise tonight to speak about the shutdown. 
I know the hour is late. I will cut short my remarks.
  But we are now, as you heard and as many Americans know, in day 24 of 
the shutdown. This is a shutdown that the President, a number of weeks 
ago, said that he--I am not quoting him exactly,

[[Page S185]]

but he seemed to want to have a shutdown, and then he went forward and 
executed it even after this body, the Senate, voted unanimously just 
before Christmas to extend funding for the government until February so 
we could continue debates until then. But he chose to upend that and 
now we have this shutdown lasting not just 24 days but now the longest 
in American history. That is not a distinction any President or 
administration or Congress--especially the majority here in the 
Senate--should be proud of.
  I think it is very clear that there is a way out of this, and the way 
out of this would not foreclose--in fact, it would enhance--the chances 
that we can have a fulsome, thorough, policy-oriented debate on border 
security, which we should have. We should actually enlarge that to 
speak to or debate a lot of major immigration issues and maybe come up 
with a bipartisan bill like we had in 2013, where 68 votes brought 
forward a bill out of the Senate that had probably the best border 
security provisions in recent American history. It had a pathway to 
citizenship. It was a long and arduous path but a pathway, nonetheless. 
As well, it had guest worker provisions so that employers could have 
order, rules, and certainty as to their workforce and our immigration 
  We have a very broken system that we would have been 5 years, at 
least, into the fixing of or the repair of if we had passed that bill--
or if the House had passed that bill. It had 68 votes in the Senate, 
but it died in the House. We haven't seen a bill like that since--
certainly, not any bill that was as comprehensive.

  Here we are with 24 days of government employees being held hostage 
by the administration. I think there is some complicity here in the 
Senate, as well, because we know there is a bill that would open eight 
of the nine agencies. That bill is here in the Senate. We could pass it 
tonight, tomorrow morning, or tomorrow afternoon. We could pass it very 
quickly because--remember, the first act of a Democratic-majority House 
was to pass Republican appropriations bills--they are bills that sailed 
through the Republican-majority Senate with little to no opposition.
  That is where we find ourselves, with a way out of this predicament, 
which I believe would not only open up the government--which would be 
good for the whole country and for both parties all across the country 
and, especially, for the people mostly adversely affected--but it would 
also isolate the issue. Right?
  The President says that he wants to have changes made, and he has a 
different view than I do, but let's have weeks of debate on border 
security or everything else he wants to talk about. Let's bring in the 
experts. Let's have a dueling set of experts. Let's see whom the 
American people support. Do they support one point of view that says we 
want border security or the other point of view that says that you want 
a wall or some steel barrier? That is kind of the choice. Do you want 
real border security or something else? We should have a debate about 
  If anything, the debate about the shutdown would be set aside because 
it would be over. The government would be opened. The country, the 
press, the Senate, and the House would naturally focus then on issues 
of dispute. That would isolate the issue.
  But it is very difficult to maintain an argument or a reasoned 
debate--a debate based upon facts and policy and law, and, I hope, on 
the advice and consultation of border security experts, not just 
politicians. We have a lot of smart people in the Congress, but very 
few, if any of them, are border security experts. Let's listen to the 
experts. Let's take testimony from them like they had back in 2013, 
which undergirded the bill that got 68 votes. That would be a way to 
isolate and focus on the issue, instead of bringing misery to what is 
now hundreds of thousands of Americans--soon to grow to millions and, 
then, tens of millions--because those who miss paychecks today are a 
very big number. That number will grow when it starts to affect 
government services, which I will outline rather quickly because of the 
  We have a lot of men and women in the country now working without pay 
or being furloughed, worrying about whether they can make a mortgage 
payment, put food on the table, or pay their heating bill. They don't 
have a choice. They can't just say: Well, sir, I can't pay the bill 
today because the government shut down. So just wait and you will be 
just fine.
  No, they have to pay the bill. Thank God we passed legislation for 
backpay, but for some of these folks, backpay will not be enough 
because their credit will be adversely impacted. Their credit may be 
destroyed even if they get the backpay.
  On Friday, 820,000 Federal workers, including 14,000 in my home State 
of Pennsylvania, missed a paycheck--more than 1,300 Department of 
Agriculture employees, 990 Department of Interior employees, 1,200 
Federal Bureau of Prisons employees, 775 FAA and TSA employees, 700 EPA 
employees, as well as assistant U.S. attorneys in different parts of 
  I will share a small part of a longer letter that I got from a 
constituent. This constituent said:

       I am currently a furloughed U.S. State Department employee 
     and one of your constituents. I will soon miss a paycheck 
     and, with car payments, student loan payments, et cetera, on 
     the horizon, my family of five will likely suffer. Beyond our 
     personal hardship, this shutdown is both expensive and 
     counterproductive to border security.

  I couldn't agree more with that constituent and with the argument 
that constituent makes, but what is even more compelling, of course, is 
not the argument about the policy debate here in Washington. The more 
compelling part of that, of course, is missing car payments, student 
loan payments, and a family of that size suffering. That is real life. 
That is not just a Washington theoretical debate. That is real life for 
that family.
  How about farmers? These are people who are not Federal Government 
employees, but they are affected by the fact that Federal Government 
employees are not at their desks or not in the field. Farmers can't 
visit their local Farm Service Agency office to get assistance.
  We have a new farm bill. It is one of the great bipartisan 
achievements. Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, came 
together for a big farm bill. That is great. I am glad we got that done 
at the end of 2018.
  The bad news is that some of that requires advice, consultation, and 
engagement with Farm Service Agency offices. They are not able to give 
that assistance.
  How about seniors who rely upon transportation services and nutrition 
services provided by the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals 
with Disabilities Program? That and the Commodity Supplemental Food 
Program, also known as the Senior Food Box, are now at risk of being 
isolated. These seniors are now at risk of being isolated at home and 
without food.
  Approximately 2,400 units of low-income housing in Pennsylvania are 
in jeopardy because the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
will not be able to renew a contract. More than two-thirds of the 
people who receive this type of assistance are seniors and people with 
disabilities. The people who benefit from this type of housing 
assistance have average incomes of less than $13,000.
  Two million Pennsylvanians receive food assistance. It is actually 
about 1.8 million, but it is almost 2 million Pennsylvanians who 
receive assistance through the SNAP program, or the Supplemental 
Nutrition Assistance Program. We used to call it food stamps. They may 
lose access if the shutdown drags on much longer.
  I know the administration says: Don't worry. Everything is OK for 
  That is, in essence, what the administration said, and they haven't 
given us a definitive word about March.
  So of those 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, a huge share of them have a 
disability, and a huge share of them are children in households who 
can't support themselves and can't afford food on their own because 
they are children. They benefit, as well. They are part of the 1.8.
  A lot of them, of course, are seniors who deserve this program 
because that is what we do in America. We try to help people who need 
food assistance. That is called being America--being the strong country 
that we are, showing how strong we are not just by virtue of our 
military and our GDP--everyone knows that. No one comes close

[[Page S186]]

in the world. But we are also strong because we say we care about 
people with disabilities. We want to make sure if they need Medicaid, 
they get that kind of healthcare. If they need food assistance, we will 
get that for them. We care about our seniors, too, because we are 
America and we are strong, and it is an American value.
  These programs are important. When they are shut down, that is not an 
American value being upheld. When we talk about these programs and 
about food assistance, this is also real life--literally, today or the 
day when you lose food assistance. Why should that assistance even be 
the subject of uncertainty--uncertainty because someone doesn't get 
their way on a policy matter here in Washington?
  I guess it is OK for any Member of Congress because we are a coequal 
branch of government. It is not like the President is higher than the 
Congress. We are coequal. I guess because the President wants to shut 
the government down to make a point about a policy matter, I guess that 
should be an option that any Member of the House or the Senate should 
exercise. So the next time, it will be a Member of Congress, when you 
lose a battle on a policy matter or you don't propose the funding on 
time, which is what happened here. They didn't ask for the money at the 
beginning of the year. So they tried to shoehorn it in at the end of 
the year. I guess if you lose the policy debate or your bill doesn't 
pass, you vote to shut the government down--take action to shut the 
government down like the President did.
  I don't think that is the way any party or any country should 
operate. So 200,000 Pennsylvanians may lose access to the Women, 
Infants, and Children Program, which provides critical nutritional 
support to mothers and young children--200,000.
  So there are the 2 million I talked about. There are 1.8 million 
people who are getting the benefits of the SNAP program, which, by the 
way, helps all Americans. People ask: What do you mean by that? It 
does. If you spend a buck on SNAP, you get $1.80 back in economic 
activity because people have to eat, and they tend to spend that money 
quickly. It helps everybody. So the SNAP program is not just a nice 
thing to do for people who have disabilities or for seniors or 
children; the SNAP program helps all of us because it helps to 
stimulate the economy.
  Even if you are disinterested in supporting this program but are 
interested in having your own American economy grow, you should support 
the SNAP program. It is also the right thing to do because it is a 
darned good program. When you add 1.1 million people who are getting 
SNAP and then 200,000 people who benefit from the WIC Program, you will 
have gotten over 2 million just in one State.
  These programs are not out of money this week or in the month of 
January or in the month of February, but we don't know about March yet. 
We haven't gotten any guarantees about March. Even if we get a 
guarantee about March, what about April? That is far from guaranteed. 
So that is what we are talking about here. Why should these people have 
to wait? Why should a farmer have to wait weeks or months to talk to a 
Farm Service Agency office? Why should families who have food 
insecurity as part of their lives not be able to get something to eat 
because we are having a policy debate here? Why shouldn't we give them 
the certainty that they vote for us to ensure?
  It is unconscionable and unacceptable, and I wish I could come up 
with better words than that because they are not at all adequate. It is 
unconscionable that children and moms and hungry Americans will suffer 
because of this shutdown.
  The President says he is concerned about crime and the flow of 
dangerous drugs into the country. I agree with him. A lot of Americans 
do, of course. Yet the shutdown is significantly impairing the FBI and 
the DEA's law enforcement efforts. These are part of the list of 
Agencies that are impacted. Agents are still doing their work to keep 
the public safe. They are dedicated, and they are going to do their 
work no matter what.
  Yet, with many analysts on furlough, it is getting harder and harder 
to work effectively to keep the public safe. I want an FBI that has all 
of the resources it needs, with everyone on duty, with everyone 
working. If the FBI is undermined because of the shutdown, we are less 
safe. If the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency, is undermined because of 
the shutdown, we are less safe. You don't have to be a law enforcement 
expert to say that.
  It goes on from there. I have more, but I will not because of the 
hour. I will go back to the beginning.
  There are adverse impacts today with people not being paid as of 
Friday. That alone is compelling and urgent and insulting, frankly, to 
us as Americans and is directly insulting to those families who don't 
deserve this. It is going to get a lot worse, though. That number is 
going to grow and grow, not just with those who are directly affected 
with their paychecks and in their livelihoods and their credit ratings 
and all of that but with people who depend upon the Federal Government 
for help when they are vulnerable, when they are hungry, when they want 
an answer to a question, when they want to close on a mortgage or do a 
long list of other things.
  For the life of me, I do not understand why we would not pass a bill 
that is sitting in this Chamber that would open eight of the nine 
Agencies--that are closed--until the end of the fiscal year, September 
30, so the shutdown will be over for those eight agencies. Then you 
would have one Agency, Homeland Security, that would get short-term 
funding, which would be another reason we could continue the debate and 
another way to focus attention on border security and anything else 
anybody wants to talk about here. It would focus the attention on that 
issue and remove the issue that is in front of all of us, which is that 
25 percent of the government--and a lot of it affecting a lot of 
people--is closed, shuttered, not working, not effective, not 
delivering on results.
  There is an easy solution here that not only does not close the 
debate on border security--effective, expert-recommended border 
security--but, if anything, enhances the possibility that there will be 
a more engaged debate on border security. As I said, I hope it will 
grow into a larger immigration debate.
  I yield the floor.