(Senate - January 24, 2019)

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[Pages S541-S548]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          TO PROCEED--Resumed

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

       Motion to proceed to 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. Mr. President, later today--on day 34 of this partial 
government shutdown--the Senate will be voting on a proposal to finally 
end it. We will be voting on the one plan--the only one on the table--
that would reopen the shuttered portions of the Federal Government. It 
is a pragmatic compromise that could end this impasse right away.
  The choice is absolutely clear, and the Nation is watching. Members 
can vote to immediately reopen the entire government with a compromise 
package that the President will actually sign, or they can hold out for 
the Democratic leader's dead-end proposal that stands no chance of 
earning the President's signature and ending the partial shutdown.
  The President's compromise would accomplish three things. First, it 
ends the shutdown and resumes pay for Federal workers right away. 
Second, it strikes a bipartisan compromise on the issue of immigration 
and border security with ideas from both sides. Third, it provides 
stable, full-year funding for the Federal Government, not another 
short-term bandaid.
  First, ending the shutdown. We have heard from Federal workers whose 
lives are in disarray. We have heard about the family hardships caused 
by the Democrats' unwillingness to sit down and negotiate with the 
President. We have heard from those who have endured over a month 
without pay. We have heard from the men and women of the U.S. Coast 
Guard, air traffic controllers, TSA agents, and other Federal 
employees. Every American deserves a fully operational government. 
Taxpayers aren't getting special tax refunds for these weeks when 
services and Agencies have been diminished or are unavailable.
  The President has been at the negotiating table, ready to talk and to 
fix it. Democrats have made the opposite political calculation, and our 
Nation is paying the price.
  The way forward is simple. We all know the ground rules. We need a 
compromise that can pass both Chambers and earn the Presidential 
signature. That is the way you make a law in this country. The first 
proposal we will vote on today is the only legislation that exists with 
any chance of checking those boxes--getting the President's signature 
and making a law.
  On immigration and border security, this legislation provides the 
resources the men and women who risk their own safety to defend our 
border tell us are necessary. In the past year, we have watched as 
apprehensions of family units at the borders have risen--more young 
people brought into danger.
  They have seen more interdiction of illicit substances like heroin, 
methamphetamine, and fentanyl and higher rates of attempted crossings 
by gang members and criminals.
  The need for more security on our border is not a partisan invention. 
It is a fact. It is a reality most Senate Democrats readily admit.
  One Senate Democrat said: ``I'm willing to support more border 
  Another said: ``Certainly, you need barriers. And we support 
  Not to be outdone, a third said: ``I'm a huge advocate of border 

[[Page S542]]

  If they agree with the need, they should agree with this modest 
proposal. It would fund new enforcement and surveillance technologies, 
recruiting and training hundreds of new Border Patrol agents, and it 
would direct about one one-thousandth of Federal discretionary spending 
for physical barriers along the highest priority sections of the 
border--barriers like the ones that the current Democratic leader 
joined then-Senators Obama, Biden, and Clinton in supporting back in 
2006; like the barriers constructed by President Obama's own 
administration; like the barriers in which many of my Democratic 
colleagues happily voted to invest billions of dollars during the last 
  These commonsense physical barriers were a bipartisan point of 
agreement until about 5 minutes ago, but the President went even 
further to win Democrats' support. For example, his proposal also 
provides for a 3-year legal status for certain individuals currently 
covered by DACA and TPS.
  That is what this law provides: the border security we need, plus 
actual statutory authorization for DACA recipients, written into law, 
for the first time--not the unilateral hand-waving of the Obama 
  Finally, this bill would complete the full-year appropriations that 
both parties worked very hard on last year. The last thing we need is 
another temporary measure. Last year's appropriations process left 
stable, bipartisan funding measures on the 1-yard line. We don't need 
to punt from the 1-yard line and set up another crisis just like this a 
couple of weeks from now. We need to finish our work and run these 
seven full-year bipartisan funding bills into the end zone--into the 
end zone--and finish last year's work.
  Let me conclude by simply stating what will be on display in this 
Chamber today. The American people will see plainly which Senators want 
to make a law and clean up this mess and which Senators are content to 
continue making political points and nothing else.
  Making law versus making points, that is a choice. Any one of my 
Democratic colleagues who rejects the compromise offer but votes for 
the Democratic leader's partisan showmanship will be saying the 
following: They will be saying that political fights with the President 
matter more--more--than Federal workers and their families, border 
security, DACA and TPS recipients, as well as government funding.
  Let me say that again. If my Democratic colleagues reverse their 
voting records on border security, if they decide that spending one 
one-thousandth of Federal spending on Obama-style steel barriers has 
become totally impermissible just because President Trump is in the 
White House, then, they will be saying that political games outrank 
Federal workers, the Coast Guard, DACA recipients, TPS recipients, and 
all their constituents, as far as this Democratic Party is concerned.
  Deep down, my friends across the aisle know this is not a reasonable 
reaction to a President of the other party. They know the Speaker of 
the House is unreasonable on these subjects, with her own Members and 
her own House majority leader openly contradicting her on national 
television, and that Senate Democrats are not obligated to go down with 
her ship.
  They know that denying the President one-tenth of 1 percent for 
spending on needed border security is not worth hurting this many 
people. It is obvious what the Senate needs to do.
  Today, we will decide whether we turn a new corner and begin putting 
the last month behind us or whether we will all continue to show up for 
work, stuck in exactly the same situation.
  Only one bill does all the bipartisan things I discussed. Only one 
bill has any chance whatsoever of becoming law. So we ought to vote for 

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, President Trump has kept the government 
shut down for 34 days, and the pain inflicted on the American people 
and their government is getting deeper and deeper every day.
  Our economy is suffering. First quarter GDP is in the tank. Consumer 
confidence has fallen.
  Our national security is suffering. FBI agents attest that criminal 
and anti-terrorism investigations are severely constrained. Border 
patrol, TSA, and hundreds of thousands of homeland security personnel 
are working under limitations. These people are all part of our 
  President Trump keeps saying that we need the wall for security. Most 
people disagree with that, but even if we did agree, it is not going to 
be built for years. Our security is suffering today because of the 
Trump shutdown. It is so bad that five former DHS Secretaries wrote a 
letter to President Trump, urging him to end the shutdown without the 
wall, including his former Chief of Staff John Kelly, a loyal soldier 
if ever there were one. Kelly knows and they all know that this 
shutting down of the government for the President's wall, which most 
Americans believe we should not build, is wrong. The President's former 
Chief of Staff is telling President Trump that his position on the 
shutdown is wrong, that his position on the shutdown is a threat to 
national security--I would argue far more than not building a huge, 
ineffective wall.
  Yesterday, a joint statement from the air traffic controllers, 
pilots, and flight attendants unions issued a dire warning: ``In our 
risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the risk currently at 
play, nor predict the point at which the system will break.''
  Mr. Donald Trump, President, if you cared about security, you would 
open the government now. You are the only one standing in the way. We 
know most of our Republican colleagues want the government opened. They 
are, in a positive way, loyal to you and, in a negative way, afraid to 
buck you, but they all know it. Everyone knows it.
  Of course, 800,000 Federal workers are on the cusp of missing their 
second paycheck--a month's share of pay. Some require the assistance of 
food banks to get by. That is so disheartening. Hard-working people who 
just want to help their families have a decent life have to go to a 
food bank. They did nothing wrong. President Trump is using them as 
hostages. Here is how callous this administration is. When asked about 
that fact this morning, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a billionaire, 
said ``I know they are, and I don't really quite understand why.'' He 
argues that it is easy for furloughed workers to get a loan.
  Those comments are appalling and reveal the administration's callous 
indifference toward the Federal workers he is treating as pawns. 
Secretary Ross's comments are the 21st century equivalent of ``Let them 
eat cake.''
  Many of these Federal employees live paycheck to paycheck. Secretary 
Ross, they can't just call their stockbroker and ask them to sell some 
of their shares. They need that paycheck.
  We need to end this shutdown now. There is only one way to do it. 
This afternoon, for the first time since President Trump shutdown the 
government in December, the Senate will have a chance to vote on a bill 
that reopens the government.
  Leader McConnell says that President Trump's bill is the only way to 
reopen the government. Bull. He claims that our bill will not pass 
because President Trump will not sign it. Has he ever heard of a veto 
override? Has he ever heard of article I?
  The bill that President Trump has put together can't pass the House 
and can't pass the Senate, so it has no chance of passing. For Leader 
McConnell to say the only bill that has a chance of opening up the 
government is President Trump's bill--where he puts in a $5.7 billion 
wall, undoes many of the asylum provisions, and is broadly unpopular--
is false. It is just wrong.
  The two bills that are on the floor are not equivalent votes. My 
friend on the other side and some in the media who are being lazy 
called the two votes ``dueling proposals,'' as if there is one 
Republican proposal and one Democratic proposal and they are sort of 
equal. It is just not true.
  The President's plan demands 100 percent of what the President 
wants--$5.7 billion for a border wall plus radical new changes to our 
asylum system before reopening the government. For the Republican 
leader to call this a compromise is laughable. There was no Democratic 
signoff--not from me, not from Senator Durbin, not from any other 
Democrat. It is a harshly partisan proposal that essentially codifies

[[Page S543]]

the President's position that government funding is a bargaining chip.
  A vote for the President's plan is an endorsement of government by 
extortion. If we let him do it today, he will do it tomorrow and 
tomorrow and tomorrow. The whole structure of our government will 
change, and the chaos that we now see will be magnified.

  Even some of my Republican friends have admitted that the President's 
plan is not a serious offer. A few days ago, my friend from Oklahoma 
called it ``a straw man proposal.'' I think that says it all. The 
President's plan is a straw man, not a serious offer. It is merely a 
way to save face.
  The second vote is the opposite. It demands nothing before we reopen 
the government--nothing. There are no partisan demands, not things we 
want or we will shut down the government. We don't do that. Only Trump 
does that, and our Republican colleagues go along. Our proposal allows 
us to open the government and then, after the government is opened, 
settle our differences over border security. I know it is not partisan 
because every single Republican supported the same basic idea just 1 
month ago when we voted on it. When President Trump changed his mind 
and said no, everyone did a sort of 180-degree reversal, including my 
friend the Republican leader. He knows it.
  So the two votes are not the same. They are not flip sides of the 
same coin. The first vote is harshly partisan and one-sided. The second 
vote is down the middle and seeks to reopen government and has received 
overwhelming support from both sides before President Trump said he 
wouldn't do it. Calling the two votes equivalent is not an attempt to 
simplify but to mislead.
  Nonetheless, in a few hours, we will take these two votes. The Senate 
will have a chance to say no to the President's hostage-taking, and 
then the Senate will have a chance to send a clear message that 
Congress is ready to reopen the government.
  To my Republican colleagues, even if you are for the wall--all of 
those who have said ``I may be for the wall, but I want to keep the 
government open'' have a chance to do it on the second vote. Let's see 
how they vote.
  Throughout this debacle, I have not heard one good reason why 800,000 
Federal employees must be held hostage for us to discuss border 
security. Democrats are happy to discuss border security under regular 
order with the government open. We support stronger border security. 
President Trump believes the best way to do that is an expensive and 
ineffective wall. We disagree sharply with that, but there is no reason 
we can't negotiate and figure it out. What we can't allow is the 
President to hijack our government and hold it hostage every time we 
disagree over policy, which he will do if he wins this one.
  The votes this afternoon are about more than just a shutdown. They 
are about how we govern in a democracy.
  We are allowed to come here and disagree over policy. In fact, our 
system of government was designed to allow for progress, despite our 
large and sometimes raucous differences. But when one side--in this 
case, the President--throws a temper tantrum and uses the basic 
functioning of our government as leverage in a policy argument, our 
system of government breaks down. If every President decided to shut 
down the government when they didn't get a policy from Congress, 
America would careen from crisis to crisis, an endless spiral of 
gridlock and dysfunction.
  So the votes this afternoon are not about border security. These 
votes are about ending a manufactured crisis, a self-inflicted wound 
that is bleeding our country out a little more each day. I hope and I 
pray that the Senate rises to the occasion.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant Democratic leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I want to thank my colleague and 
Democratic leader Senator Schumer for making clear what is going to 
happen on the floor of the Senate this afternoon. We have a chance, an 
opportunity when 100 Senators come to the floor, to put an end to the 
government shutdown this afternoon. I want to tell you, there is 
nothing more important than that, as far as I am concerned. I hope we 
will rise to that occasion and rise to that challenge.
  During the last 2 days, what I have done is travel across my home 
State of Illinois and sit down and meet on an informal basis with 
Federal employees who are going through this government shutdown. In 
the last couple of weeks I have been to Peoria, Pekin, Aurora, Marion, 
and I went to St. Louis, though it is clearly not in Illinois, to meet 
with air traffic controllers who live in my State. I sat down and asked 
them tell me the stories, to tell me what has happened in the 34 days 
when they haven't been paid--34 days, as of today. They were a little 
embarrassed and a little reluctant to talk about what it meant.
  Eventually, I said ``Well, tell me about some of your coworkers,'' 
which is usually a way that people can tell their own stories without 
embarrassment. I heard some stories that are breaking my heart as I 
stand here at this moment.
  Have you ever been in an air traffic control tower? It is amazing. I 
have seen some of the biggest. We had one up in Elgin, IL, which takes 
care of O'Hare and Midway and all of our great airports. It is a little 
bit frightening to go into one of these towers and see 10, 20, 30 air 
traffic controllers looking at these screens. On those screens are 
little dots, and each one of the dots is an airplane, and in each one 
of the airplanes there are going to be 20, 30, 40, 150, 200 people. 
That air traffic controller has an awesome responsibility to make sure 
that they are on the right path for takeoff and landing, to make sure 
that their paths don't cross. A mistake in that job can be fatal. That 
is the reality of what they face.

  Air traffic controllers have one of the most stressful jobs in the 
Federal Government. We don't think about it. We get on the plane; we 
get off the plane. Thank goodness for those men and women who are there 
to make sure it is a safe experience for all of us.
  Do you know that the shifts that are worked by air traffic 
controllers are 10-hour shifts? How would you like to face a 10-hour 
shift with that kind of stress every single day you go to work? Do you 
know how many days a week they work? Six. Six out of seven days they 
are working 10-hour shifts in one of the most stressful jobs we have in 
America. Do you wonder why they work 6 days? Most people work 5 days, 
and they certainly don't work 10-hour shifts. It is because there is a 
shortage of air traffic controllers. At age 56, you have to leave. 
Literally, you have to leave as of the next day. You cannot continue to 
work because they decided that at age 57, you are too old to do this 
job. It is too stressful.
  As these air traffic controllers are leaving, we are hoping, in a 
system that works, they are being replaced by new air traffic 
controllers who are skilled and trained so they can take over these 
important, life-and-death jobs.
  Do you know what happened because the government shut down? We 
stopped the input of new air traffic controllers, so the number is 
continuing to diminish because of mandatory retirement, and the 
pressure on those air traffic controllers increases. It increases not 
just because of fewer numbers; it increases because of what we have 
done to their lives.
  These men and women are totally innocent when it comes to our debate 
about border security. They had absolutely nothing to do with the 
President's promise of a grand and glorious wall from sea to shining 
sea, paid for by the Mexicans. They didn't make that up; the President 
did. Now he has called for a government shutdown until his campaign 
promise is fulfilled.
  I talked to some of those air traffic controllers. What is it like? 
What are you facing? They went through a long litany of things they are 
facing. Many of them are struggling because of no paycheck coming in. 
It is difficult for them. A couple of them were embarrassed to say that 
they are going to food pantries set up by churches and charities in 
their hometown to pick up some groceries to feed their families during 
this government shutdown. Others talked to me about children in their 
families with serious medical problems. Yes, they continue to get their 
health insurance as Federal employees, but there are copays they have 
to pay out-of-pocket. They worry about making those payments now that 
they are not getting a regular paycheck, and they can't see any end in 
sight as to when they will.

[[Page S544]]

  A couple of them have some very practical issues. One of them went to 
one of his coworkers, who is the head of the local union for those air 
traffic controllers, and he said: I want to tell you something in 
confidence. I have 5 days left here. I cannot continue to come to work 
beyond 5 days. I drive a long distance. I have to buy gasoline for my 
car. I have to find another job. I may have to drive an Uber car. That 
is what some Federal employees are doing. I may have to find some job 
tending bar--which some Federal employees are doing--just so there is 
income coming in for my family.
  The worst one was in St. Louis, where this woman air traffic 
controller said: One of my colleagues here at air traffic control 
confided in me that he has to drive a long distance to get to work in 
St. Louis. He buys a lot of gasoline each day to make that roundtrip. 
To buy gasoline last week, he went and sold plasma from his own body to 
get the cash to buy the gas. That is the reality of this government 
  All of us asked these air traffic controllers: Do you see any 
evidence on the job that people aren't doing the job as they are 
supposed to?
  No, we have an awesome, life-or-death responsibility here, and we 
take it seriously. But they quickly added: Senator, if this continues 
and people are not replaced, we are going to reach a point where we 
have to keep the system safe. To keep it safe, the distance between 
aircraft flying into and out of airports will have to be increased and 
the intervals between aircraft will have to be increased so there is 
always a safe atmosphere when it comes to our airports.
  What happens when that interval and distance are increased? Your 
flight is late again. Mine was about an hour and a half late leaving 
O'Hare last night. We asked why. A member of the crew was coming in on 
an international flight. She had to go through Customs. Customs has 
been reduced in number to two people at St. Louis because of the 
government shutdown, so it took her an extra hour to join up with the 
flight I was on. It was a minor inconvenience for me but maybe a major 
inconvenience for some other passenger.
  It is an indication of what happens when all these men and women who 
are behind the scenes keeping our air control system working are under 
pressure and when there are fewer of them than there should be doing 
their job. It reflects what happens when we don't have enough people in 
the Customs section at international airports to process people in a 
timely way. The system slows down.
  Why are we at this point? Did the air traffic controllers need to be 
punished for something? If they did, I don't know what it might be. 
They are good men and women. They are trained in such a fashion that 
very few people could actually do their job. It is interesting. I have 
been down to Oklahoma City and places where they have been trained. 
Everybody doesn't cut it. You have to be pretty darn sharp to be able 
to keep track of all those aircraft and to not buckle under pressure 
because it is a pressure-filled job. President Trump's shutdown has 
added pressure to that job. Does it make you feel safer when you get on 
an airplane to know that? I don't. I worry about it. I worry about 
those men and women who simply want to do what they were hired to do.

  Incidentally, about one-third of them are veterans. They served our 
country--many of them in the Air Force--and they took the skills they 
learned in the military and brought them into air traffic control.
  We give a lot of speeches on the floor here, Republicans and 
Democrats, about how we want to honor our veterans. How can we be 
honoring our veterans when 800,000 Federal employees have gone without 
pay for 34 days, and between 25 and 35 percent of them, depending on 
the Agency, are veterans? Are we honoring our veterans by not paying 
them in a timely fashion?
  The first bill we have today is President Trump's bill in dealing 
with this crisis. It will deal with the shutdown he created, but it 
also addresses several other problems which the President made a 
decision on and we are trying to fix. I want to address one of them in 
particular because it is an issue I have worked on for a long time; 
that is, the fate of people known as Dreamers, those who are protected 
by DACA.
  These are people who were brought to the United States as children, 
some of them as infants and babies. They grew up in this country 
believing this was home. They went to school here. They prepared for a 
future life. At some point, usually in their teenage years, their 
parents brought them in and said: We never filed the papers for you. 
You are undocumented in America. Through no fault of their own, they 
were brought to this country, grew up here, and they learned some time 
in high school that there is no future for them in America.
  I have met so many of them over the years, these Dreamers. I appealed 
to President Obama: Do something to help them. And he did. He created 
the DACA Program. The DACA Program allows these young people I just 
described to apply for protection for 2 years at a time--protection 
from being deported from America--and to be allowed to work legally in 
America. Almost 800,000 came forward across the Nation and signed up 
for this protection under President Obama. These are amazing young 
people. They are tomorrow's doctors and engineers and lawyers and 
teachers and leaders. They are incredible young people. I have met so 
many of them. All they are asking for is a chance to be part of 
America's future.
  President Trump came in September of 2017 and announced he was 
abolishing this program, abolishing the DACA Program, which meant that 
these young people had no protection for the future and really didn't 
know which way to turn. President Trump challenged us to come up with 
legislation to solve the problem he created. We were unable to do so. 
We couldn't reach an agreement. The President's bill, his own solution 
to the problem, came before the Senate and received 39 votes. It didn't 
even receive the support of his own political party when he brought it 
up. It just wasn't a reasonable approach.
  The President said last weekend: I am going to address the fate of 
DACA and Dreamers as part of this effort to end the stalemate in 
  My hopes were raised. He talked about a bill that I had introduced 
with Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, 2 years ago 
called the BRIDGE Act and said that is what we are going to do. It 
sounded hopeful. Maybe this would be part of the solution. For these 
young people, it meant everything that they might have a chance to be 
able to stay in this country and not be deported.
  It turns out that when the President produced this bill a couple of 
days ago and we read the text, it was a bitter disappointment. It 
really bears no resemblance to the BRIDGE Act, which he referred to.
  I would say to my colleagues in the Senate who are considering voting 
for the President's bill: Please don't vote for it if you think you 
will be doing something to help DACA and the Dreamers. This bill, as 
written by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen 
Nielsen, and Mr. Miller, who is the President's adviser at the White 
House, shows their barely masked contempt for these young people. They 
have dramatically increased the costs of going through this process--
doubled it. They have set in new conditions so they can eliminate more 
and more people from being eligible for this protection. They added 
provisions that are totally unnecessary. During the 7 years DACA has 
been in place, we have seen positive things happen, not negative 
things. Unfortunately, what the President proposes now is a dramatic 
step backward. This does not help.
  After meeting with air traffic controllers and Federal prison guards 
at Federal penitentiaries in Marion and Pekin, I can tell you what they 
want. They want the shutdown to end today. They want to get a paycheck 
for their families so they can get back to the business of being good 
husbands, good fathers, and good members of their community. They are 
embarrassed about going to these food pantries. They can't imagine what 
they are going to do because of some problems that have been created 
with their credit ratings because this President has shut down their 
paychecks for 34 days.
  These prison guards and air traffic controllers don't have any choice 
but to come to work. They are called essential personnel. I would hope 
at the end

[[Page S545]]

of this day that we would think of them first and make sure the 
shutdown ends immediately, today.
  One other thing. This needs to be the last time we have this 
conversation on the floor of the Senate--the last time. We have to make 
government shutdowns an unacceptable tactic of either political party 
or any branch of our government. It is absolutely terrible that these 
innocent people who work for our government are paying the price of our 
inability to reach a political agreement on issues. We can find an 
agreement on border security, but it shouldn't be because 800,000 
innocent Federal employees haven't received a paycheck for 34 days.
  Let's step forward and do this in a bipartisan fashion. Over this 
last weekend, I received scores of phone calls from my colleagues in 
the Senate. Some people may find it hard to believe, but Republicans 
have called, and I have called them, and Democrats have called. There 
is a bipartisan feeling that this crisis--this manufactured crisis--has 
to come to an end.
  The second vote that will be offered today--the one the Democrats 
will offer--is simply to extend the continuing resolution to fund our 
government, end the shutdown immediately, and give us a matter of days 
to get this job done in coming to a compromise on border security. I 
know we can do it. I am convinced we can do it. I know there is a 
feeling of good will, but we need enough Republicans to join with the 
Democrats to make this a bipartisan effort today.
  I don't believe the President's bill is going to pass. There are 
aspects to it that I described that are unacceptable to so many of us. 
But this bare-bones approach--a 3-week extension; a number of days to 
actually bargain and compromise while the government is up and running 
and people are being paid--is a reasonable end to this.
  I don't know how any of us can go home if, at the end of the day, we 
have done nothing and the shutdown continues. Let's stick here and do 
our job--the job we were elected to do to solve problems, not to create 
  As Senator Schumer said earlier, there are so many individuals who 
are providing security and safety across our Nation. Whether it is our 
FBI, our prison guards, the Coast Guard, the air traffic controllers--
why in the world would we endanger any Americans because of our 
inability to reach a political agreement? The votes today will give us 
a chance to emerge from this with a positive approach to solving this 
problem. I believe we can do it. The sooner the better.

  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hawley). Without objection, it is so 
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I come to the floor today as the chairman 
of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to express my 
strong support for the End the Government Shutdown and Secure Our 
Borders Act. This legislation includes many important priorities, and 
they are important priorities that we need to address now.
  In the past several days and weeks, there has been a lot of talk 
about who has more leverage, who is winning, and what the political 
stakes are. You hear a lot of different answers to those questions, 
depending on whom you ask, quite frankly, but I will tell you one 
thing: Those are not the questions on the minds of our Federal workers.
  Just this morning, at about 4 o'clock, I had a conversation with 
several TSA agents at Yeager Airport, where I fly out of to come to 
Washington. In talking about the situation, what I got in response from 
them was a lot of headshaking and a lot of questions. Their questions 
had to do with this: How are they going to pay their bills and when is 
this going to end? I understand their frustration. I am frustrated.
  That is exactly why I have always said that a shutdown is no way to 
govern. It is not in anyone's best interest. It is a disservice to our 
Federal works. It is a show of our inability to do our jobs in 
conjunction with those on the other side of the aisle, and it is a 
signal to the American people that we think this confusing and 
ineffective way to govern is OK, when it is not. It is not OK.
  We are here in this body to work together, to get over the rifts that 
we may have, and to move forward to do the people's work. We have to 
fix this situation, and we have to fix it now.
  We have an opportunity today to do that, and I plan to do that by 
voting for the President's proposed compromise. This proposal does two 
things that we should all want. It reopens the government, and it helps 
to secure our southern borders. If we pass this amendment--and I hope 
we do--we will bring our furloughed workers back to work, and they will 
get paid. We will pay the dedicated men and women of our Coast Guard, 
our Federal prison guards, our TSA and Border Patrol personnel, and 
many others--many of whom I have talked with--and we will take a major 
step forward in securing our Nation.
  I believe the resources in this bill are necessary because I believe 
we do face a crisis on our southern border. Last year, in the last 3 
months of 2018, over 153,000 people were apprehended illegally crossing 
the southern border. And that number does not include the people who 
crossed illegally, but were not apprehended. The number of illegal 
border crossings was up more than 80 percent in the last 3 months of 
2018, as compared to the last 3 months of 2017.
  The composition of those being detained for crossing the border is 
changing. In 2000, 98 percent of those detained for illegally crossing 
the border were Mexican nationals, and most were single adults. They 
could be repatriated to Mexico very quickly, within hours. But, in 
2018, more than 56 percent of individuals detained were from places 
other than Mexico. A large portion were from Honduras, Guatemala, and 
El Salvador.
  Increasingly, individuals are showing up at our borders from all over 
the world. Forty percent were either unaccompanied minors or arrived as 
part of a family unit. That number is way up. That number is way up. 
That means longer detention proceedings that have placed a burden on 
our immigration court system, and it means an increased need for 
facilities to safely and responsibly house these people for a longer 
period of time.
  I have visited the detention centers in Texas. I believe the facts 
make it very clear that there is a crisis. The amendment that we will 
vote on today offers a solution.
  We also know that physical barriers work. In the San Diego, Tucson, 
El Centro, and El Paso regions, where there are constructed physical 
barriers, the illegal border crossings have gone down by more than 90 
percent. That is undeniable. Right now, we have 654 miles of physical 
barrier in place.
  I have heard folks say that we don't have any walls or that we don't 
have any barriers. Yes, we do. Yes, we do. If we pass this amendment, 
we can build 234 miles in areas like the Rio Grande Valley, where 
career Border Patrol personnel tell us it is most needed.
  There has been a lot of talk that the professionals should be in 
charge here in terms of telling us how and what the best methods of 
protecting our borders are. Well, they are in charge. As subcommittee 
chair, I have had several meetings with them for them to tell me what 
their border security plan is, and the CBP has that.
  This amendment would fund the bulk of the top 10 requests. They have 
a 33-point plan. This would get us through the top 10.
  The funding in this bill provides for a border wall system--a 
system--which is much more than just a physical barrier. It provides 
lighting, sensors, cameras, and access roads to help our Border Patrol 
agents gain and maintain operational control of the border. These are 
the things that the Border Patrol has asked for. A wall is not the only 
solution, but it is a critical part of the solution.
  The resources included in the amendment for the southern border are 
important to the security of our Nation, and they are especially 
important to address our drug crisis. Fentanyl seizures by the Border 
Patrol away from ports of entry are up 122 percent over last year.
  Remember, fentanyl is a killer. Over half of the deaths by overdose 
in our State in some bit or in some part involved fentanyl.

[[Page S546]]

  Methamphetamine seizures by the Border Patrol away from ports of 
entry are up 75 percent in the last three years. The border wall system 
will reduce the flow of these illegal drugs between our points of 
  We know that much of the heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine that 
are hurting so many Americans cross our border at the ports of entry. 
This amendment addresses that issue as well. It provides $805 million 
for technology, canines, and personnel to stop the flow of illegal 
drugs into our country. That is what West Virginians are interested in. 
This drug crisis is really impacting us. This would be an unprecedented 
investment in these types of detection capabilities--a complete game 
  The amendment would allow us to hire more people, which is another 
thing the CPB says that they need--750 new border agents and 375 new 
Customs officers to complement these investments.
  The combination of technology and personnel, both at our ports of 
entry and along the border, with the border wall system, would enhance 
our security. It will choke off a major source of the heroin and 
fentanyl that has devastated my State, and I am sure the Presiding 
Officer's State, as well, and across our country.
  Resources are also included in the amendment to detain those who are 
apprehended for illegally crossing our border. I support the important 
work of the men and women of ICE, and I want them to be able to 
maintain custody of offenders, rather than being forced to release 
those who have entered our country illegally due to a lack of space. In 
my view, that is not only more safe and secure for us, but it is 
actually more safe and secure for anybody who is involved in the 
immigration system.
  They and many more of the brave men and women of the Department of 
Homeland Security continue to perform these difficult tasks without 
getting paid during this shutdown.
  Chairman Shelby's amendment is not a short-term patch. We are kind of 
past the time where we need a short-term patch. We need to move 
forward. It is not a continuing resolution that runs our government on 
autopilot for a little while and denies the Senate the ability to make 
smart choices in exercising the power of the purse.
  Instead, it includes seven full appropriations bills that received 
significant bipartisan support in the Appropriations Committee, one of 
which is my bill at the Homeland Security Subcommittee, which was 
passed in a bipartisan way. Four of these bills passed the Senate floor 
with overwhelming support. I am very proud that the bill that I put 
forward in committee, along with some additions, are a part of this 
  There is $11.9 billion provided for our Coast Guard--this was in my 
bill--including to begin construction of something that I think is 
critical to our national security, which is the polar security cutters. 
More than $4.8 billion is provided for the TSA to improve 
transportation security, and $19.8 billion is appropriated for FEMA to 
make sure we have the necessary resources to respond to past and future 
natural disasters.
  There are important priorities within these bills from other 
subcommittees as well. A couple I would like to highlight are these. 
The Agriculture title has $550 million for a rural broadband pilot 
project that I strongly support as part my Capito Connect plan in the 
State of West Virginia. The FSGG title has resources for the Drug-Free 
Communities and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program, which is 
critical for stopping the drug epidemic that I have spoken about. The 
CJS title has $468 million to combat the opioid epidemic and another 
$30 million for economic development assistance to coalfield 
communities. These are just a few examples of what the Shelby amendment 
  The amendment that the Democratic leader has proposed reopens the 
government through February 8. It provides no new resources to address 
the security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Let me 
repeat that. It provides no new resources to address the security and 
humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Passing the Schumer plan 
would put us in the same position on February 8 that exists today.
  We don't need to pause the shutdown for 15 days and ignore border 
security. Article I of the Constitution gives us, as the Congress, the 
power of the purse, and we should exercise it by making smart choices 
based on the situation that is in front of us today.
  Continuing resolutions only cut and paste the choices that we made 
last year. Instead, we should pass the seven appropriations bills 
before us to fund the government for the rest of the year in a 
thoughtful way, in a bipartisan way, while also providing the necessary 
resources to protect our Nation.
  President Trump has made a significant concession by asking that we 
include a provision giving 3 years of certainty to those covered by the 
DACA Executive order, as well as those who have been on temporary 
protected status. That provision is included in this amendment. This is 
the type of reasonable compromise that is necessary to pass major 
legislation during a period of divided government. No one--not the 
President, not any Senator, not any Representative--gets everything 
they want in this bill or any bill, really.
  The bill includes items that many of us individually might have left 
out if we wrote the bill ourselves, but that is the nature of 
  The seven appropriations bills that make up the Shelby amendment are 
the product of significant bipartisan compromise on behalf of the 
Nation. I believe we should embrace the spirit of compromise to end 
this shutdown and secure our border. What can't be compromised is our 
Nation's security.
  We just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., Day last Monday. As was I 
reading a lot of his famous quotes, I thought about this one because of 
the situation that we find ourselves in right now:

       If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if 
     you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to 
     keep moving forward.

  Let's start moving forward together. I hope that all of my colleagues 
will embrace this sentiment, and I hope that as I vote for the Shelby 
amendment, we will get enough to push it over the Senate floor and over 
to the House.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, this afternoon Senate Democrats will have 
the opportunity to vote to reopen the government when the Senate takes 
up the President's compromise proposal. I hope they are as serious 
about ending the shutdown as they have claimed to be.
  Unfortunately, they haven't looked too serious over the past month. 
Democratic leaders have spent a lot of time talking about ending the 
partial shutdown, but they have absolutely refused to engage in any 
genuine negotiations to reopen the government. Democrats don't seem to 
understand that when there is a disagreement, both sides have to give a 
little in order to get things resolved. If we are going to get the 
government reopened, then both Democrats and the President are going to 
have to compromise.
  The President understands this. He has repeatedly made it clear that 
he is willing to negotiate. On Saturday, he put forward a genuine 
compromise--legislation that addresses his border security priorities 
and some of Democrats' most important immigration priorities.
  Unfortunately, Democrats' reaction was less than promising. The 
Speaker of the House labeled the compromise a ``nonstarter'' before she 
had even seen it. But, of course, she offered no replacement.
  President Trump offered a proposal that he believed would address 
some of the Democrats' concerns. If Democrats didn't like that 
proposal, then they could have offered an alternative--one that 
addressed their concerns and attempted to address some of the 
President's concerns. But so far, the only Democratic proposals have 
involved the President agreeing to all of the Democrats' demands in 
exchange for vague promises to address the security and humanitarian 
crisis at the border at some unspecified date in the future.
  The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate may be persisting in 
their refusal to negotiate, but there are signs that rank-and-file 
Democrats are

[[Page S547]]

starting to get restless. More than one Democratic Member of Congress 
has noted, in the words of one House freshman, ``[A]m I willing to talk 
about more fencing and more drones and more technology and radar and 
border agents? Absolutely.''
  Even the House majority leader sounded as though he was ready to 
break with Speaker Pelosi's obstruction, stating that Democrats are 
``for border security'' and that ``physical barriers are part of the 
solution.'' That is from the House majority leader.
  I hope that spirit of compromise continues to grow. In a couple of 
hours, Senate Democrats will have the chance to vote on the President's 
proposal. The bill before us would immediately--immediately--reopen the 
government. It would provide paychecks and backpay to Federal workers. 
It would provide needed disaster recovery funding. It would deliver all 
seven of the remaining 2019 appropriations bills, the product of 
bipartisan work in the House and in the Senate. It would tackle the 
security and humanitarian crisis at our border and address Democratic 
immigration priorities.
  In fact, this bill contains a version of immigration legislation 
originally sponsored by the Democratic leader, the Democratic whip, and 
the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, among others.
  The bill before us today is a genuine compromise. I hope at least 
some of my Democratic colleagues will see their way to supporting it 
because it is the only legislation we will be voting on today that can 
be signed into law, end the shutdown, reopen the government, make sure 
that Federal workers are getting paid, and address our crisis at the 
  Democrats' refusal to engage in serious negotiations has already cost 
Federal workers a paycheck and limited government services for 
literally tens of thousands of Americans. It is time for Democrats to 
stop putting their antipathy for the President above the needs of the 
American people. I hope we do that this afternoon. The time has come to 
make a deal, and we need Democrats at the table.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, for Democrats, antipathy to the President 
is not the issue. The issue is antipathy to shutting down the 
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. KAINE. The issue isn't antipathy to the President. It is that 
Democrats don't believe in shutting down government.
  I appreciate my colleague from South Dakota stating the issue the way 
he did at the beginning of his talk: Democrats will not engage in 
negotiations to reopen the government.
  Let's be plain. Democrats think the Government of the United States 
should never close. Democrats think that using a shutdown as leverage 
to get something else is illegitimate and beneath the oath of office. 
The President, on the other hand, said that he is proud to shut 
government down and is willing to use the suffering of more than 
800,000 employees and millions of American citizens to get his way.
  The difference here is not on the immigration topics; there are 
differences that can be resolved. But the difference that is hard to 
resolve is a President and a party that believe in government shutdowns 
and a party that rejects the idea of government shutdowns.
  I will state complete willingness to negotiate with this President 
and my colleagues over border security. We--8 Democrats, 8 
Republicans--introduced a proposal in February with border security 
investments, protections for Dreamers; 46 out of 49 of Democrats 
supported a $25 billion border security investment, and only 8 of 51 
Republicans did. The President blew up the deal.
  So the issue is not about negotiation over border security. We have 
been a more reliable party in making border security investments than 
the majority party has been. The issue is this: Is it or is it not 
illegitimate to shut down the government of the greatest Nation on 
Earth and inflict needless pain on hundreds of thousands of workers and 
millions of citizens when you don't get your way? That is what is at 
  Is the proposal that is on the table offered by the President a 
``compromise''? If it were a compromise, the President would have 
talked to us about it. If it were a compromise, the majority would let 
us offer amendments about it. If it were a compromise, the majority 
would have had a hearing about it so that we could have asked questions 
about it.
  Introducing a 1,200-page bill on Tuesday and calling a vote on 
Thursday and giving Democrats no opportunity to ask questions or 
propose amendments is not a compromise. It is my way or the highway. 
What we should be doing to show that we respect the President's 
proposal is referring it to the committee of origin, having committee 
hearings and markup next week, and putting it on the floor the 
following week. If the President means it as a compromise, he should 
allow the Democratic Party--minority here and majority in the House--to 
have an opportunity to shape it.
  It is my hope that my Republican colleagues will vote to reopen 
government this afternoon, through February 8, so that we would use 
next week to have a committee process to consider the President's 
proposal and the following week consider it on the floor. These are 
important enough topics that it would seem giving it a 2-week review by 
committee and by Senators on the floor is not asking too much.
  Briefly, before yielding to my colleague from Missouri, I will say 
that I just returned from Reagan National Airport, where I met with air 
traffic controllers, TSA agents, airline safety specialists who 
maintain the radar and other safety equipment at this and other 
airports. They talked about how this shutdown in which they are working 
but not being paid is starting to fray them as they are working 
overtime, as they are trying to get jobs when they are not working 10-
hour shifts to try to cover the bills they have to cover for 
babysitters and rent and medical appointments. They are talking about 
the degradation of the safety of American air traffic because of air 
traffic controllers not being paid, TSA agents not being paid, airline 
safety specialists not being paid and, in some instances, furloughed. 
If nothing else, we should care about the safety of commercial 
aviation. That is one reason, among many, that we should end the 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, you may have presided before, but you 
haven't presided when I have spoken on the floor, so it is great to 
welcome you, as both my colleague and the Presiding Officer, and I am 
glad to be working with you and glad we are both here today.
  We are both here today at a time when the American people really 
expect the government to work; the American people really expect people 
in Congress to be able to find middle ground. For too long we have been 
stuck--frankly, on both sides of the aisle--with too many people who 
ran for office saying: If I don't get what I want--I just don't want 
anything to happen unless it is exactly what I want. The best I can 
tell, that doesn't work anywhere. If you are getting what you want 
wherever you are working, wherever you are living, wherever you are 
going to church, there is probably something wrong with you. Democracy 
is about compromise.
  I think one of the great fallacies of the second option we will have 
today is that it is designed to keep the government open for 2 weeks at 
last year's spending levels, and then, at the end of 2 weeks--I don't 
know what happens then. There will be no information that Members of 
the Senate and the House will know 2 weeks from now that they don't 
know now. There is nothing that could be debated or discussed in the 
next 2 weeks that couldn't be discussed in the next 45 minutes.
  I think it is pretty clear to the American people that this has 
boiled down to a fight in which we need to reopen the government and, 
frankly, we need to secure the border.
  I just heard our good friend, our colleague from Virginia, say that, 
generally, his side of the aisle has been better than our side of the 
aisle at securing the border. I don't think that is necessarily true, 
but I am glad to concede that if our friends on the other

[[Page S548]]

side want to step up and work with us to secure the border--fine.
  I will also point out that securing the border for the last four 
Presidents has meant building barriers, and every time that happened, 
those barriers worked.
  When President George H.W. Bush built a barrier south of San Diego, 
the detentions of people coming across the border decreased by 95 
percent. That is really the only way we have of measuring whether this 
was better before the barrier or after the barrier. When you have 95 
percent fewer people coming across and being detained, something must 
be working.
  President Clinton built a barrier at El Paso, and detentions went 
down 95 percent. President George W. Bush built a barrier at Yuma, and 
detentions went down 90 percent. When you have a 90- or 95-percent 
solution, you should be able to make that solution a part of moving 
forward to solve the problem.
  The President has come, in my view, quite a way. He has gone from a 
big wall all along the border to a barrier only where a barrier makes 
sense. The President would like to add 10 or 20 percent to the barriers 
already built by all four of his predecessors. I don't see why some 
movement in that direction can't be part of what we get done.
  The shutdown has gone on too long. It has been played out way too 
much in the public and way too little with Members of Congress trying 
to get together and work this out. People who need government services 
aren't getting those services. In many cases, people providing the 
services that are essential are providing those services and not 
getting paid. People who would like to be at work are at home.
  Unlike any other time when the government has been shut down, 
Congress has said in advance that everybody will get paid, eventually. 
So the traditional worry about whether you will get paid, whether your 
income is there, is gone. But the pay is not there at the time it is 
expected to be. Normally, if you went to work for government at any 
level, you didn't go to work for government to get wealthy; you went to 
work for government because that was a secure job. So we have 
eliminated for too many people the security of one of the reasons they 
took a government job rather than a job that might lead to some more 
financially satisfactory destination--or might not. The whole reason 
they did this, in many cases, is they knew that check was going to 
come. It is not coming.
  The bill the President proposed keeps the government open with new 
priorities--largely agreed to already by the House and the Senate--
until September 30. So 2 weeks from now, we wouldn't face this exact 
same problem again. It does things I think need to be done to create 
more security for kids who were brought here as children and grew up 
here. I think this is a 70- or 80-percent issue in the country that all 
of us understand--that if you were brought to this country as a young 
child, if you grew up here, if you haven't gotten in serious trouble, 
not only should you be able to stay, but we should want you to stay.
  We need that kind of vitality in our country. The President said he 
would like to see a final appropriate solution on that. This bill 
creates a 3-year opportunity, much like--I think it was the BRIDGE Act 
that was sponsored by people on both sides of the aisle who would have 
said let's settle this for a while as we try to come to a further 
conclusion; the same kind of 3-year structure for people who were here 
because we decided we needed to give them asylum. We need to figure out 
how to deal with that on a long-term basis, but 3 years not only puts 
it through this Congress, it puts it a year into the next Congress and 
the next Presidential administration.
  Some of us need to be focused on getting this job done. I think this 
bill does that. It is not perfect. I never voted for a perfect bill. I 
introduced two or three perfect bills, but I have never gotten to vote 
for a perfect bill and don't expect to. This is not our job. Perfect is 
not our job. Our job is the possible. I think the President has 
actually shown more flexibility than our friends on the other side.
  If you don't like some of the things the President has proposed, the 
response is not this is a nonstarter. The response is to make it a 
starter. The response is, if you don't like something about what we are 
doing for deferred action on kids who were brought here, what would you 
do to make that better?
  The President's proposal goes a long way toward solving these 
problems. Most importantly, it opens the government immediately. It 
assures that will be the case until we get to the beginning of the new 
spending year on October 1, and it meets the government's obligation to 
secure the border.
  Nobody expects it to be impossible for anybody to ever get over the 
border in any way, but people do expect to have the kind of border 
security we can afford. I think the proposals the President makes does 
  We need to be more concerned about our ports of entry. We need to be 
more concerned about things and people coming across the border who 
shouldn't come across the border or people being brought across the 
border for purposes they do not want to be part of.
  This is an important moment. We need to get this job done. The two 
votes today will indicate whether we want to get this done on a long-
term basis and get back into the regular basis of government or whether 
we want to get this done for a couple of weeks, assuming somehow there 
are going to be dramatically new facts on the table in the next 2 weeks 
that are not there now. I don't believe that is the case. I am going to 
vote for the bill that gets the government open again and lets us get 
started with the work of how to fund the government on October 1 of 
this year, not how to fund the government right now. I think the other 
bill does not get us anywhere but right back to where we are 2 weeks 
from now.

                      Unanimous Consent Agreement

  I have a couple of things I need to point out; one is, Mr. President, 
I ask unanimous consent that the filing deadline for second-degree 
amendments for the cloture motion specified in the order of January 22 
occur at 2:20 p.m. today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.