STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019--Motion to Proceed; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 8
(Senate - January 15, 2019)

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[Pages S187-S192]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019--Motion 
                               to Proceed

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I move to proceed to S. 1.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion to proceed.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to the consideration of S. 1, a bill to 
     make improvements to certain defense and security assistance 
     provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to 
     Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense 
     Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter 
     of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.


                           Government Funding

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, over the course of this partial 
government shutdown, we have seen our Democratic colleagues engage in 
increasingly acrobatic contortions in order to dodge a serious 
conversation about the urgent humanitarian and security crisis down at 
our southern border. Their refusal to come to the negotiating table has 
serious implications for the hundreds of thousands of Federal workers 
going without pay and for all Americans who deserve a nation that can 
secure its own border.
  Along the way, we have heard that new funding of any sort--any sort--
of border barrier, even the kinds that Democrats have supported so 
recently and so often, would now be an immorality. An immorality?
  We have heard serious proposals brushed aside with joking offers of 
$1 to address the critical issue. We have even heard frank admissions 
that, 30 days from now, there would be no progress toward an agreement 
on border security, even if the government were reopened.
  Under normal circumstances, we could expect lines like these from the 
furthest left organizers and most vocal liberal protesters. But these 
are not normal circumstances. These are the words, believe it or not, 
of the Speaker of the House, the gentlelady from California, Nancy 
Pelosi.
  It is unclear exactly when the Speaker made the determination that 
the explicit requests of the men and women who secure our borders and 
the safety of our communities would take a backseat to the political 
whims of the far left, that the border efforts toward which Democrats 
have agreed to direct billions of dollars in the past have transformed 
overnight into something evil. But here we are, day 25. We know the new 
and unreasonable position of the Speaker of the House.
  So here, in the Senate, my Democratic colleagues have an important 
choice to make. They could stand with common sense, with border 
experts, with Federal workers--and with their own past voting records, 
by the way--or they could continue to remain passive spectators, 
complaining from the sidelines as the Speaker refuses to negotiate with 
the White House and ensures that our Nation keeps going round and round 
and round this political carousel. It is up to our colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle.


                            Border Security

  Madam President, on another matter, the substance of the border 
security issue is not the only subject that is occasioning a 
spectacular display of inconsistency from my colleagues across the 
aisle.
  If you recall, since last week, the apparent position of Senate 
Democrats has been that the Senate itself cannot engage in any of the 
people's business until government funding is resolved.

[[Page S188]]

Democrats have held this position so dogmatically that three times now 
they have voted against advancing a bipartisan and urgently needed 
package of legislation that concerns Israel, Jordan, and the civil war 
in Syria.
  It has been the Democrats' very own ``Senate shutdown'' on top of the 
partial government shutdown they are prolonging. What about our ally 
Israel? What about the innocent people of Syria? I guess they are just 
out of luck--just out of luck. The Democratic leader has made clear 
that they will just have to wait. They will just have to wait until he 
decides to end his filibuster of these bipartisan bills, which, until 
last week, by the way, he supported. It is a bizarre position--a truly 
bizarre position.
  It has directly contradicted the stated foreign policy views of many 
of our Democratic colleagues, but this has been the Democratic leader's 
position: Filibuster the expanded assistance for Israel. Filibuster the 
new consequences for giving aid and comfort to the Assad regime as it 
butchers its own people. That is what the Democratic caucus has 
overwhelmingly voted to do on three occasions.
  But now, we are informed that it was all just a farce. The Democratic 
leader actually doesn't mind doing other business because he now 
intends to bring a privileged and political stunt of a motion relating 
to the administration's use of sanctions against Russia.
  So now at least we know the score. Our Democratic colleagues don't 
really object to Senate action as such; they just object to debating a 
bipartisan package of bills to reinforce our support for Israel, help 
Jordan stand firm amidst regional chaos, and take action to hold 
accountable those who have tortured and murdered countless--countless--
Syrian civilians.
  There is no reason this bill shouldn't sail through Congress and be 
signed by the President. A bipartisan bill to support Israel, defend 
Jordan, and provide justice for innocent Syria--that is what the 
Democratic leader is filibustering. But a partisan motion on an 
unrelated foreign policy issue? Oh, he is perfectly happy to see it 
come right here to the floor for a vote. As I said, at least we know 
the score.
  So here is my commitment to Israel and to Jordan and to the Syrian 
people: I will continue to force these cynical tactics into the light 
of day. Democrats may vote a fourth time--or a fifth time--to 
filibuster these bipartisan bills, even as they turn the Senate toward 
other business. But Republicans will not abandon the need for American 
leadership in the world.


                       Nomination of William Barr

  Madam President, on one final matter, today our colleagues on the 
Judiciary Committee will begin nomination hearings for Mr. William 
Barr, the distinguished public servant President Trump has asked to 
serve as the Nation's next Attorney General.
  Certainly, no one needs me to explain all of the reasons this is a 
vital position. The Department of Justice is charged with duties such 
as protecting Americans' civil rights, defending the public order to 
which citizens are entitled, and upholding the time-honored tradition 
that the United States of America is a nation governed by law. So it is 
the Nation's good fortune--our good fortune--that the President has 
selected such a completely qualified and thoroughly prepared leader to 
fill this vacancy.
  First and foremost, of course, is the fact that Bill Barr has served 
in this position before. As Attorney General under President Bush 41 in 
the early 1990s, he fulfilled his oath and led the Department of 
Justice with honor and with skill. He was widely regarded as a capable 
administrator and as a strong, independent, and principled advocate for 
fairness and for following the law.
  His tenure confirmed the great confidence that Republican and 
Democratic Senators had all placed in him when they confirmed him to 
that position unanimously. Democrats controlled the Senate in 1991--
Democrats controlled the Senate in 1991. That is when he was 
confirmed--confirmed on a voice vote. Boy, those were the good old 
days.
  Amid the proceedings, our distinguished colleague Senator Leahy 
expressed confidence that Mr. Barr would be ``an independent voice for 
all Americans.''
  Then-Senator Joe Biden, who was then the chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee, put it this way at the time: He is ``a heck of an honorable 
guy.''
  So 28 years ago, leading Democrats were practically heading up the 
Bill Barr fan club, and his subsequent service proved they had made the 
right call. In fact, this nominee has been unanimously confirmed by the 
Senate three times--three times.
  Before serving as Attorney General, he worked as an Assistant 
Attorney General and a Deputy Attorney General. In no case did even a 
single Senator identify a good reason to oppose his confirmation--three 
times unanimously.
  So it is beyond safe to say that Mr. Barr is eminently qualified and 
widely respected. I look forward to his testimony today and to the 
testimony of those who know him and his work. I hope every Senator will 
afford Mr. Barr the fair consideration he so obviously deserves.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.


                           Government Funding

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, as the Trump shutdown drags on, more 
and more Americans are getting hurt. Public servants have been working 
without pay, critical Agencies are unable to perform the functions they 
are supposed to perform for the American people--whether that is 
inspecting food supply, protecting our airports and prisons, or helping 
farmers and small businesses get loans. We are now approaching tax 
season with the IRS under severe limitations.
  When will the President's ridiculous manufactured crisis come to an 
end?
  I have three words for President Trump, Leader McConnell, and our 
Republican Senators: Open the government.
  We can debate border security. We have debated it for a month and a 
half. We haven't come to a conclusion. Open the government, and we can 
debate border security while the government is open.
  Now, for weeks, as I said, we have been at a standstill. We have 
offered the President several ways to uncouple his demand for a border 
wall from a government shutdown. The President has been obstinate, 
insisting on a $5.7 billion wall he promised that Mexico would pay for.
  The few times that his deputies--the Vice President and the Chief of 
Staff--have made proposals to Democrats, the President contradicted 
them soon thereafter. Just yesterday, the President flatly refused to 
consider a proposal from his close ally in the Senate, Senator Graham, 
to open the government temporarily while we debate border security.
  Sadly, neither Republicans in Congress nor the President's own staff 
seem willing to tell him what everyone else already knows: The 
President does not have the votes in either House of Congress for his 
expensive, ineffective wall.
  The reason we have been unable to make any progress is that President 
Trump is not yet interested in making progress.
  So there is only one person who can help America break through this 
gridlock: Leader Mitch McConnell. For the past month, Leader McConnell 
has been content to hide behind the President, essentially giving him a 
veto over what comes to the floor of the Senate. It has put him in the 
ridiculous position of refusing to consider legislation to reopen the 
government that nearly every Senate Republican has voted for--
legislation that leader McConnell has proudly voted for; legislation 
that the American people favor by a 2-to-1 margin, including nearly 40 
percent of Republicans.
  The American people suffering the dire consequences of this shutdown 
can no longer afford to wait for the President to come around. The 
President must be shown the will of the Congress, and I believe that if 
Leader McConnell were to put the House-passed bills on

[[Page S189]]

the floor, they would receive a significant majority in the Senate, a 
veto-proof majority.
  So I would appeal to Leader McConnell: Do what is right for the 
country. Do what is right for hundreds of thousands of Federal 
employees laboring without pay. Do what is right for our farmers and 
small businesses, homeowners, and taxpayers. Do what is right for 
America.
  President Trump may not care about the harm he is doing to all of 
these people, but our Republican Senators, including Leader McConnell, 
should.
  A few years ago, Leader McConnell remarked: Remember me? I am the guy 
that gets us out of shutdowns.
  Well, Leader McConnell, now is the time. Leader McConnell, allow a 
vote on legislation and reopen the government.
  In a short time, a few of my Democratic colleagues will ask the 
Senate for that chance. Will Leader McConnell help us reopen the 
government? Will some of our Republican Senators actually join us, not 
in nice words but in actually voting to reopen the government? Or will 
Leader McConnell block it yet again, aiding and abetting President 
Trump's desire to extend his government shutdown?
  One final point here, President Trump thinks if he holds out long 
enough, he will win the fight with the American people. Every day he is 
losing. The Gallup poll today had him at a near-record low of 37 
percent popularity. Even some of his base is losing face.
  President Trump, you are not going to win this fight with the 
American people. Every day it drags on, you are less popular. Every day 
it drags on, people blame you and the Republicans, not the Democrats. 
You are not winning the fight. You may be in your own untruth bubble, 
but you are not winning the fight. Everyone knows that. We certainly 
do.


                       Nomination of William Barr

  Madam President, on another matter, as we speak, the Senate Judiciary 
Committee is conducting its hearing on the nomination of William Barr 
to be the next Attorney General of the United States. It is an august 
position that demands the highest degree of credibility, transparency, 
and fidelity to rule of law, even during a normal Presidency.
  But given President Trump's actions, his disdain for rule of law, his 
derision of the rulings of an independent judiciary, his public 
contempt for law enforcement procedures of the Justice Department, the 
burden of proof for William Barr is higher than it would be for other 
Presidents.
  This is not a normal Presidency. We don't need an Attorney General 
who will just comply with this President. That is a danger to the 
Republic.
  The Senate should expect unequivocal and explicit commitments from 
Mr. Barr to resist President Trump. Mr. Barr cannot merely give 
perfunctory, boilerplate assurances. Saying ``I am for transparency'' 
is not good enough.
  Will he release Mueller's report--yes or no? If he can't answer 
``yes,'' he doesn't deserve the position. Will he not interfere in any 
way with Mueller's investigation as opposed to saying he likes Mueller 
and thinks he is doing a good job? If Mr. Barr can't say ``yes,'' that 
he will not interfere in any way with the Mueller investigation, he 
doesn't deserve the job, particularly in light of his writings.
  We should expect unequivocal commitments from Barr to defend the 
integrity of the FBI and our Federal law enforcement officers, not 
vague statements that give him plenty of wiggle room to do President 
Trump's dirty work if he gets to be Attorney General, and we should 
expect an unequivocal commitment from Mr. Barr to allow the special 
investigation to proceed and conclude without any--underline ``any''--
interference.
  One last point, the expectations for Mr. Barr are even more demanding 
given the recent revelation that he wrote a detailed, unsolicited memo 
to the Justice Department criticizing the Mueller investigation, 
despite having no knowledge of its workings. The memo revealed that 
Barr holds an astonishingly broad--almost imperial--view of executive 
power. That should also be a serious line of inquiry for our colleagues 
on the Judiciary Committee.
  The next Attorney General will take charge of a Justice Department 
that has been embroiled in near-constant chaos for 2 years at a 
critical moment for our democracy. The Senate should only approve an 
Attorney General of unimpeachable integrity and unimpeachable fidelity 
to the rule of law, with the strength and conviction to resist the 
worst impulses of this President, who, probably, when it comes to the 
Justice Department, has the worst impulses of any President we have 
ever had.


                           Russian Sanctions

  Madam President, finally, on Russia sanctions, later this afternoon 
the Senate will move to consider a motion to proceed to a resolution of 
disapproval on the Treasury Department's proposal to relax sanctions on 
three companies owned and controlled by sanctioned Russian oligarch 
Oleg Deripaska. The case against the Treasury Department's proposal is 
strong. It fails to sufficiently limit Deripaska's stake in the three 
companies. It merely reduces his ownership to 45 percent. Many U.S. 
companies are heavily influenced by an owner who controls much less 
than a 45-percent share. Why didn't they reduce it to 10 or 15? But 
they didn't.
  Treasury's plan also allows for Russian shareholders with family and 
business ties to Deripaska to retain shareholder interest. Considering 
that Deripaska's ex-wife and father-in-law control 7 percent of the 
company, add that to the 45, and he has total control. So Treasury does 
not come close to going far enough.
  Beyond the weak terms of the deal, the Senate must consider that 
Deripaska has deep ties to President Putin and his intelligence 
apparatus, organized crime, and Mr. Paul Manafort, a subject of the 
special counsel's investigation.
  It is deeply suspect that the Trump administration would propose 
sanctions relief for Deripaska's companies before the special counsel 
finished his work. We should not allow any sanction relief for 
President Putin's trusted agents or the companies they control before 
the conclusion of the investigation.
  Finally--and maybe most seriously of all--there is a foreign policy 
issue here at stake. President Putin's government, one of Russia's 
largest banks, and the Russian economy have a direct interest in 
sanction relief for Deripaska's companies. Why is the Trump 
administration proposing sanctions relief when President Putin has not 
yet made any move to curtail or constrain his maligned activities 
around the globe?
  Now, this morning, my friend from Kentucky called this a political 
stunt and a farce. That is appalling. After all Putin has done, this is 
a stunt and a farce? And why are we doing it now?
  He said: Why are Democrats doing it?
  Because the underlying law that allows for this resolution has a 30-
day alarm clock on it. The alarm clock goes off Thursday. Democrats are 
not forcing this vote; the law is.
  I would say to the leader, Democrats were not the ones who decided to 
relax sanctions on Putin's cronies just before the Christmas holiday, 
hoping no one would notice. That was the Trump administration. If 
Leader McConnell wants to know why we are voting on Russian sanctions 
this afternoon, he should go talk to the White House.
  So allow me to appeal directly to my Republican colleagues. Whatever 
your view on this issue, there are enough questions--enough questions--
that we should vote for the motion to proceed so that you can hear the 
debate. It is an important debate. Putin is laughing with the damage he 
is doing to America. We cannot go along.
  In the past, one of the finer moments of this Senate, which Leader 
McConnell talks about all the time, was when we joined in a bipartisan 
way to impose sanctions on Russia. Well, we should not relax that view. 
We should not relax that vigilance. The details here are complex. The 
Senate and the American people ought to have a real understanding of 
the facts before voting. If that debate is allowed to proceed, I 
believe my Senate colleagues will see the wisdom of keeping the current 
sanctions in place.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.

[[Page S190]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Government Funding

  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, Democrats continue to talk about the need 
to fully reopen the government, and I cannot agree with them more. It 
is time to end this partial shutdown and get the government fully 
operating again. But there is a problem. Democrats may talk a lot about 
the need to reopen the government, but they are not willing to do the 
work that would be required to actually get the government open.
  In a divided government, negotiation and compromise are essential. If 
you want to get something done in a divided government, you have to 
compromise. But that doesn't seem to be something the Democrats 
understand. For Democrats, it is ``my way or the highway.'' They won't 
give an inch. They want their way, and they want their way only. All of 
us would like to get our proposals passed exactly as we want them, with 
no changes, but we all know that is unrealistic. If you want to get 
something done, you usually have to compromise.
  The White House has a strongly held position but has also made it 
very clear that it is willing to be flexible and negotiate with 
Democrats, but the Democrats refuse to play ball, and they continue to 
hold parts of the Federal Government hostage.
  We just heard our colleague from New York, the Democratic leader, 
suggest that it should be Republican leader Senator McConnell's job to 
solve this problem, but the fact is--and we all know this--the 
negotiation in this circumstance has to be between the President of the 
United States and the Democrats in the Senate and the House who have 
refused to budge on that position.
  The Republican leader has made it very clear that as soon as the 
President is willing to sign something and the Democrats here are 
willing to produce enough votes to give us the 60 votes that are 
necessary to pass it in the Senate and the House, he will move a bill 
through the Senate that we can get to the President and end this 
shutdown, get the government open again, and fund border security, 
which is an important priority for our country and for our national 
security interests.
  That is a position which, until recently, was also held by the 
Democrats. As recently as December, the Democratic leader indicated 
that to solve this budget stalemate, this impasse we seem to be having, 
we needed to have the support of the leaders in both the House and the 
Senate and the President before either Chamber should vote on 
legislation. He suggested that the President needed to come out 
publicly in support of it--in other words, to indicate he would sign 
any legislation that might move.
  So that is where we are. It is not a function of the Republican 
leader's. The Republican leader is prepared to produce the votes that 
are necessary to pass legislation to reopen the government. It is 
entirely dependent upon the President of the United States, who must 
sign that bill into law, and the Democrats here in the Senate, who have 
to produce the requisite number of Democrats to get the 60 votes that 
are required to pass it in the Senate. That is where we are.
  Frankly, right now, there isn't a negotiation going on. The 
Democrats' refusal to negotiate is victimizing the very workers they 
want to protect. The Federal workers who are struggling right now are 
struggling precisely because Democrats are refusing to work with this 
President, and that has a lot more to do with politics than it has to 
do with the issue itself.
  Democrats need to negotiate with the White House to reopen the 
government, but they should also want to work with the White House on 
border security solutions. Border security is a national security 
imperative. No country can be secure if dangerous individuals can creep 
across its borders unchecked and unobserved, and Democrats used to 
understand this.
  In 2006, the Democratic leader and the ranking member of the Senate 
Judiciary Committee voted for legislation to authorize a border fence. 
They were joined in their vote by then-Senator Biden, then-Senator 
Clinton, and then-Senator Obama.
  In 2013, every Senate Democrat--every Senate Democrat--supported 
legislation requiring the completion of a 700-mile fence along our 
southern border. This legislation would have provided $46 billion for 
border security and $8 billion specifically for a physical barrier.
  As recently as last year, nearly every Senate Democrat supported $25 
billion in border security.
  My point is that the Democrats in the Senate have in the past 
recognized the importance, No. 1, of securing the border and, No. 2, 
how important a physical barrier is as a part of the solution to 
securing our border--not entirely dependent upon a border wall but 
certainly a part of that solution, to include technological solutions, 
manpower, additional personnel, cameras, censors, all the modern 
technology that we have, but in certain places recognizing that the 
fence works. The fence has worked. There is already 700 miles of fence 
on the southern border.
  I would point out that in 2009, the Senate Democratic leader said in 
a speech that ``any immigration solution must recognize that we must do 
as much as we can to gain control of our borders as soon as possible.'' 
That was in 2009 from the Senate Democratic leader. He went on to 
discuss, interestingly enough, progress that had been made on border 
security between 2005 and 2009, including ``construction of 630 miles 
of border fence that create a significant barrier to illegal 
immigration on our southern land border.'' That from the Democratic 
leader in 2009, again crediting the construction of 630 miles of border 
fence that creates a significant barrier to illegal immigration on our 
southern land border. In other words, in 2009, the Democratic leader 
not only didn't oppose border fences, he praised them.
  The fact is, our border is not secure. Tens of thousands of 
individuals try to cross our southern border illegally each month. 
Illegal drugs flow into this country through ports of entry and other 
unsecured areas of the border. Federal agents have seen a 115-percent 
increase in the amount of fentanyl seized between ports of entry, and 
90 percent of the heroin supply in this country flows across our 
southern border. There is human trafficking, weapons trafficking, and 
more.

  We need better border security, including more barriers, technology, 
and personnel along our southern border. We don't know who is coming 
into our country and why. We need to ensure that we keep criminals, 
traffickers, terrorists, and dangerous goods out of this country.
  House majority leader Steny Hoyer was asked about the Democrats' 
flip-flop on border security and whether there is any real difference 
between what they supported in the past and what they are opposing now. 
He said: ``I don't have an answer that I think is a really good 
answer.''
  ``I don't have an answer that I think is a really good answer.'' 
Well, Madam President, at least that is honest. Democrats don't have a 
good answer because there is no real difference between what they have 
supported in the past and what they are opposing right now.
  Before Christmas, I came to the floor to talk about the divided 
government we would be dealing with in 2019 and 2020. I noted that 
divided government doesn't have to spell the doom of productivity. In 
fact, over the past 30-plus years, some of our greatest legislative 
achievements have been the product of divided government. But I also 
noted that in order for us to be productive in the 116th Congress, 
Democrats would have to decide to work with us. So far, they have 
decided not to.
  In addition to refusing to negotiate on border security, Senate 
Democrats have also blocked the Senate from considering legislation to 
support Israel's security, strengthen our relationship with our 
Jordanian allies, and hold accountable individuals who participate in 
the atrocities of the Assad regime in Syria.
  Despite our divided government, we can still accomplish important 
things for the American people, but it is going to require an about-
face from Democrats, who have so far made the 116th Congress about 
partisanship and their hostility to this President.
  It is time for Democrats to stop talking about reopening the 
government and to take steps that would actually do so by committing to 
real negotiations with the White House. Then and

[[Page S191]]

only then can we get past this impasse, get the government open and 
functioning, and address what is a critical and important national 
security imperative for our country, and that is ensuring that our 
southern border is secure.
  It is not about Republicans in the Senate. It is about the President 
of the United States, for whom this is a huge priority, something he is 
passionate about doing and a commitment he made to the American people. 
And it is about the Democrats here in the Senate--and in the House but 
here in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes to pass anything--sitting 
down across the table from the President in good faith and dealing with 
what usually happens in circumstances like this, and that is to 
negotiate an agreement for both sides, give a little bit, have a little 
give-and-take.
  As I mentioned, the President has been very flexible and very open to 
sitting down with Democrats. In the discussions I have been a part of, 
he has demonstrated his willingness to compromise. But I have yet to 
see a single step by the Democrats here in the Senate or in the House, 
in their leadership, a single move, a single inch of movement in the 
direction of trying to solve this problem. Instead, they seem bent on 
turning it into a political issue. That is not good for the American 
people. It is certainly not good for those employees who are struggling 
out there because they are not being paid and certainly not good for 
the crisis we face at our southern border and the security threat that 
poses for the American people.
  I hope we will do better. We can do better, but it is going to 
require negotiation. It is going to require a willingness to sit down 
at the table in good faith and to get discussions going about how we 
solve this important problem.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Scott of Florida). Without objection, it 
is so ordered.


                   Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 21

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I am here with my colleague Senator Van 
Hollen. The two of us are going to make a unanimous consent request to 
reopen the government.
  I know the distinguished majority leader is here. We are on day 25 of 
this tragic, outrageous, needless, and dangerous partial shutdown. 
Senator Van Hollen and I have met with government workers, and we heard 
their account. They can't pay their bills. Mortgages are going without 
payment. I heard yesterday from a Federal worker who can't pay their 
children's extra activities at school for dance lessons. They can't 
help their relatives deal with their problems. They are postponing 
needed health treatment issues.
  I read last week on the floor of this body a letter from Kristen 
Jones and Brad Starkey, air traffic controllers who explained how they 
can't take care of their family needs. So 800,000 people are furloughed 
without pay or working without pay--30 percent are veterans. Small 
businesses are shuttering their operations because they depend upon 
government workers for their business. From cleaners to restaurants, 
they are finding they don't have the business they used to have.
  Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic 
Advisers, indicates the economic impact is $1.2 billion a week on our 
economy.
  We heard that small businesses have to lay off employees because they 
are not getting their Federal partnerships. I used the example of the 
Senior Services of America. They laid off 176 employees because the 
USDA and Forest Service can't honor their contracts. People can't close 
on their home mortgages because they don't have pay stubs to show their 
income. The FHA can't certify loans with HUD being shuttered. Core 
missions are being compromised.
  I talked to air traffic controllers yesterday--people in air safety. 
They don't have their full complement. They are professionals. We have 
the most professional government workforce in the world, and they are 
dedicated professionals who do their job, but we are asking them to do 
it with half the number of employees and without getting a paycheck. 
That is outrageous.
  This shutdown has to end. The President wants it. We are an 
independent body. We are a coequal branch of government. We could open 
up the government. Yes, we can negotiate border security, but we have 
to have the government open. You can't negotiate under circumstances 
where the President is holding the country hostage, and he undermines 
his own negotiators. It cries out for Congress to take the lead.
  I agree with Senator Graham when he says we should open the 
government and then let us negotiate using the regular process of 
Congress to debate the issues of border security, including immigration 
issues. We are a coequal branch of government. Two bills are on our 
desk. Both have passed the House of Representatives.
  I am going to make a unanimous consent request with regard to H.R. 
21, and my colleague Senator Van Hollen will deal with the rest of the 
government. H.R. 21 has six appropriations bills that are not related 
to the issue of border security. They have already been acted upon by 
this body. They are not part of this dispute. It is Financial Services 
and General Government. It is Agriculture. It is Interior and 
Environment. It is Transportation and HUD. It is State and Foreign 
Operations. It is Commerce, Justice, and Science. They passed this body 
either by a 92-to-6 vote for the Appropriations Committee or unanimous 
or near unanimous by our Appropriations Committee under Republican 
leadership in a bipartisan manner. We need to reopen the government.
  Therefore, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 5, H.R. 21, 
making appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019; I 
further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed 
and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the 
table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I say in response to the distinguished 
majority leader, I just don't understand why the Senate is missing in 
action. We are a coequal branch of government. Let us speak about 
opening the government. There are Members on both sides who understand 
that we can debate border security, and we can reach agreements, but 
you can't do that with a partial government shutdown.
  This is President Trump's shutdown, and now with the majority 
leader's objections, the Republicans in the Senate are assisting this 
shutdown.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Let me repeat again what I have said now for some 3 
weeks. The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in 
the country who can sign something into law, the President of the 
United States, and our Democratic colleagues. For the Senate 
Republicans to participate in something that doesn't lead to an outcome 
strikes me as not what the Senate ought to be involved in.
  We have an important package of bills that have been held up during 
the Senate shutdown--never mind the government shutdown--related to our 
colleagues, our friends in the Middle East, the Israelis, related to 
the Syrian civil war and all the atrocities that have occurred. There 
is business to be done in the Senate.
  The way to solve the government shutdown is for the administration 
and our good friends in the House in the majority and Senate Democrats 
to reach a legislative solution. When that happens, I will be more than 
happy to call it up because we know it will actually solve the problem.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Briefly, in response to the majority leader, the first 
priority should be reopen government. That needs to be our very first 
priority of business.
  In regard to the legislation the leader is referring to, let me point 
out that those bills could have been passed in

[[Page S192]]

the last Congress where Republicans controlled both the House and the 
Senate. The majority leader made a decision on floor time that it was 
not a priority to be considered in the 115th Congress.

  Let me also say, in regard to Israel, it will benefit from the 
foreign ops appropriations bill to be passed, which is part of my 
unanimous consent request of an additional $200 million, but that is 
being held up because of this shutdown that has been caused by the 
President and has now been assisted by the Republicans in the Senate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.


                 Unanimous Consent Request--H.J. Res. 1

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, the issue here is that, under the U.S. 
Constitution, the Senate really does need to do its job as a separate 
and coequal branch of government.
  Last week, Senator Cardin and I were right where we are today--here 
on the floor of the Senate, asking consent that the Senate immediately 
take up and vote on the two House bills that are on the Senate calendar 
as we speak and pass them and send them to the President to reopen the 
government. Last week, the majority leader blocked a vote on that. He 
blocked consent to take up those bills to reopen the government. Since 
last week, much has changed, and much has stayed the same. Here is what 
has changed.
  The impact and harm of the shutdown is growing by the day. It is 
metastasizing around the country. Here are some headlines: ``The 
cascade of shutdown problems grows each week.'' Another headline: 
``This is ridiculous: Small-business owners can't get loans as shutdown 
enters Day 20.'' That was day 20. We are now on day 25. ``FBI 
operations damaged as shutdown continues.'' ``FBI Agents Group Says 
Shutdown Affects Law Enforcement.'' They point out it is putting those 
on the job at greater risk because those are who are furloughed who 
support them can't give them the backup they need.
  The FDA continues to not do its routine food inspections, and 
American veterans--and veterans make up 30 percent of the Federal 
workforce--are being disproportionately hurt by the shutdown.
  We just heard it reported that the White House economists are 
doubling their estimate of the harm being done to our economy each 
week. It is already in the billions of dollars, and they are saying it 
looks as though it will be twice that much as this thing grows 
exponentially.
  Services have been shut down for the American people. There were 
800,000 Federal employees, as of last Friday, who received pay stubs 
like the one I am holding in my hand. This is one that was for an air 
traffic controller. Starting last Friday, 800,000 Federal employees did 
not get paychecks. Hundreds of thousands of them are on the job, 
working, and hundreds of thousands of them have been locked out of 
work. What they tell us is they just want to get back to work and do 
their jobs for the American people. If you look at this pay stub, at 
the net pay, it reads ``zero''--a big, fat goose egg. I can tell you 
these Federal employees are getting bills. They are getting their 
mortgage and rent bills. They don't say zero. They stay the same. So 
here you have 800,000 Federal employees who are unable to make do--
missing mortgage payments, missing rent payments, missing their monthly 
installments on community college payments. On top of that, you have 
all of these small businesses that do work for the Federal Government 
that are beginning to go belly-up, and their employees are being told 
not to go in to work.
  Since Senator Cardin and I were here on the floor just last week, 
things have gotten much worse around the country, but here is what has 
stayed the same--that we have it in our power today to take up two 
House bills to open the government.
  I was listening to the majority leader say: Well, you know, the 
President says he is not going to sign them.
  Yet we are a separate branch of government. We are the article I 
branch of government. I am holding in my hand, right here, the bill 
that Senator Cardin asked us to vote on today. I think the public needs 
to know what is in it because what is in it has already been supported 
on a bipartisan basis by this U.S. Senate.
  It has provisions to open about five Departments of the U.S. 
Government that have nothing to do with Homeland Security. We passed 
that by a vote of 92 to 6. The President says that he doesn't want to 
sign it. He can veto it. With 92 to 6, it is a veto override--big time. 
Also contained in here are bills that passed the Senate Appropriations 
Committee by a vote of 30 to nothing and 30 to 1. That is what is in 
here--bipartisan bills.
  So the question for this body, as a separate branch of government, is 
this: Why in the world are we not going to allow a vote to reopen the 
government on provisions that we have already agreed to on an 
overwhelming bipartisan basis--in fact, with a veto-proof margin?
  The President can say that he is not going to sign it. That is his 
business. That is the executive branch. For goodness' sake, let's do 
our job here in the U.S. Senate, because every day that goes by with 
this growing harm, the Senate is more and more complicit, and we are an 
accomplice to the shutdown.
  I know President Trump likes to talk about the fact that he has done 
things that no other President has done before in the history of the 
United States. This time, he is right. He has the longest shutdown of 
any President in the United States. He said he would be proud to shut 
down the government if he didn't get his way. I know that no Senator 
here--Republican or Democratic--is proud to shut down the government, 
certainly, for the longest period in history.
  So let's do the right thing. Let's do our job. Let's not just say the 
President is the only one who can handle this. We can handle it.
  Mr. 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 that the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cruz). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.

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