(Senate - January 24, 2019)

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[Pages S549-S557]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                               TO PROCEED

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

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana is recognized.

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

  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, as my colleagues know, we have about 
41,000 Active-Duty servicemembers in the U.S. Coast Guard. They are 
running vital missions right now in the South China Sea. They are 
protecting our airspace and ports along about 12,000 miles of 
coastline. They are performing search and rescue missions that include 
nearly 1,200 Active-Duty Coast Guard personnel in my home State of 
Louisiana, the Eighth Coast Guard District. For that reason, I think 
the members of our Coast Guard need to be paid during this shutdown 
until we resolve our differences. We need to resolve our differences.
  There are some good Members of Congress, but right now, the American 
people are wondering what they are good for. It seems to me that we 
ought to be able to reach an agreement that secures the border--which I 
happen to believe can't be done without a barrier--and that also opens 
the government.
  For that reason, Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Coast Guard be paid; that the Senate proceed to the immediate 
consideration of Calendar No. 6, H.J. Res. 1; that the Wicker amendment 
at the desk be agreed to; that the bill as amended 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?
  The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, reserving the right to object, 
President Trump is responsible not only for thousands of Coast Guard 
personnel not getting paid but also for hundreds of thousands of other 
Federal employees not getting paid.
  Last week, I met with Coast Guard Commandant Schultz, and I told him 
to press Secretary Nielsen, who could press the President to stop 
holding innocent Federal employees hostage in wall negotiations.
  Last month, as we all know, the Senate voted unanimously to keep the 
government open into February so all Federal employees would get paid 
and the President and Congress could separately negotiate border 
  Today, the Senate will again have a chance to vote on the same 
measure that we passed unanimously in December. I expect that those who 
care about getting our Coast Guard paid will support passing H.J. Res. 
31, a continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security, 
and H.R. 648, which are the conference bills for FSGG, Interior, 
Environment, Agriculture, T-HUD, SFOPS, and CJS.
  Will the Senator from Louisiana modify his request to include the 
unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate 
consideration of H.J. Res. 648 and H.J. Res. 31 en bloc; that the 
measure be considered read a third time and passed en bloc; and that 
the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no action 
or debate? That will pay all Federal employees who deserve to be paid.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator so modify his request?
  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I am 
smiling because of the great admiration and respect I have for the 
senior Senator from New York. I love to hear him talk.
  Mr. SCHUMER. If the Senator would yield, it is mutual.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I love to hear him talk. He can talk the ears off a 
  Mr. SCHUMER. If the gentleman will yield, we don't do that in 
  Mr. KENNEDY. He has waxed eloquently many times in this Chamber.
  I remember back in 2005, 2006--I was a mere lad--that we had a bill 
before this Chamber that was called the Secure Fence Act of 2006. 
Senator Schumer and then-Senator Obama--a rising star--and Senator 
Hillary Clinton talked passionately and eloquently about how it was 
impossible to secure a 1,900-mile piece of real estate without having 
barriers. They talked eloquently. I remember agreeing with them 
wholeheartedly that legal immigration makes our country stronger,

[[Page S550]]

that illegal immigration undermines legal immigration, and that one way 
to stop illegal immigration--not the only way but one way--was with a 
border barrier. That was then. This is now.
  Now, my esteemed colleague knows full well that his resolution will 
not accomplish either border security or the opening up of this 
government because President Donald Trump is going to veto it. It will 
be a futile, useless exercise. We can go through it if the Senator 
wants to. He can spend all day trying to teach a goat how to climb a 
tree, but he is better off hiring a squirrel in the first place. There 
is a measure before this Senate, and the President has put a proposal 
on the table that will satisfy many of the concerns of our Democratic 
friends and will ensure border security.
  For that reason, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Is there an objection to the original request?
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, I object to the original request 
because the Senator from Louisiana has not allowed the rest of the 
Federal Government to get paid. I would remind him, whether it is 
squirrel, jackrabbit, or armadillo, that we are the article I branch of 
government, and because President Trump says no, we have veto override 
power, and we could get the workers paid even if he will not sign it.
  I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. Madam President, I was going to ask the distinguished 
Democratic leader to have yielded under his reservation.
  Might I be recognized for just a moment? The objection has already 
been heard, and we will not get this done.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Louisiana yield the 
  Mr. KENNEDY. Of course.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi is recognized.
  Mr. WICKER. Madam President, I appreciate the Senator from Louisiana.
  His unanimous consent request would have done one simple thing--
gotten the uniformed servicemembers in the Coast Guard paid just like 
we are paying today for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and 
Marines. The Coast Guard members are the only servicemen out there now 
who, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are required to 
perform their duties under pain of penalty, and they are not being paid 
as the others are. It would also protect survivors' benefits for the 
retirees and their survivors in the Coast Guard, as is being done with 
the other uniformed services.
  We may be getting close to a solution on this. I certainly hope so. 
In the meantime, I think it would be a significant gesture on the part 
of the Democrats and the Republicans in this Senate and in the House of 
Representatives to pass this one small change that the President has 
said he will sign and to do the right thing by paying members of this 
uniformed service. I regret that the Senator has objected, and I 
appreciate at least having a chance to explain why this mere carve-out 
is different from a larger solution that may be coming soon.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, once again, I would simply remind my 
dear friend from Mississippi that we could do a whole lot more good by 
funding and opening up the government for everyone. President Trump has 
claimed 25 times he wants to shut down the government for his wall, and 
he has gotten this Chamber to reverse itself when it had originally 
passed funding for the whole government. We could do a lot more good if 
my amendment to the proposal by my friend from Louisiana were adopted. 
That is how it is.
  Now, on a different issue, I ask for the yeas and nays on the motion 
to proceed to S. 1.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays are ordered.
  The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, let me explain a little bit about what 
we witnessed on the Senate floor. Actually, it may be a little bit 
confusing, but it is an important issue.
  With regard to the Coast Guard, my colleagues from Louisiana and 
Mississippi have been working on this issue for a while. It is not 
going to solve the whole partial government shutdown, but we have been 
working with a number of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. 
Right now, this bill for which my friend from Louisiana asked to have 
unanimous consent has 23 cosponsors, and there might be more. Actually, 
almost one-quarter of the whole Senate--more Democratic cosponsors than 
Republican cosponsors--is cosponsoring this bill to pay the Coast 
  Again, we are working on the broader issue of getting our government 
back to the work of paying Federal workers, but as my colleagues 
mentioned, the Coast Guard is in a rather unique situation because it 
is the only military service right now that is not getting paid. Those 
in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are all getting paid. Right 
now, as we speak, the Coast Guard's men and women are out in my great 
State of Alaska and are risking their lives for Americans, as they 
always do. They are also out in other places like the Middle East and 
in the Persian Gulf. They are literally running patrols in the gulf, 
side by side, with marines and sailors. The marines and sailors are 
getting paid. The members of the Coast Guard are not getting paid.
  By the way, if the members of the Coast Guard say: ``Do you know 
what? I don't want to deploy to the Middle East right now. I am not 
getting paid'' or ``I don't want to get on that ship to save an Alaskan 
crabber whose life is at risk,'' they get court-martialed. So the Coast 
Guard is in a very unique situation right now.
  Here is the process we just witnessed. A number of us--again, it was 
very bipartisan--went to the President and said: Mr. President, we know 
it takes the Senate and the House and the White House to pass a bill. 
People are working on the broader issue. We are all working on the 
broader issue and on the compromises we need. Hopefully, we can get 
there this afternoon. In the meantime, let's try to get something to 
pass as we have almost one-quarter of the Senate in agreement--more 
Democrats than Republicans--on this bill that Senator Kennedy just 
mentioned. Would you support this?
  A number of us have had ongoing conversations with the President of 
the United States. I have raised this a number of times with him and 
his administration over the last 2 weeks. In a meeting I had with him 
on Wednesday, he said: I am 100 percent behind that bill.
  This is really important because, as to some of what the minority 
leader has said we should be bringing up, the White House has said: We 
are not going to support. OK. It is difficult to pass a bill when you 
are not going to get the President to sign it. Yet the President will 
sign this bill, and almost 25 percent of the Senate has said it is 
already a cosponsor of it.
  So what just happened for everybody watching, particularly the Coast 
Guard members?
  When I learned that the President was supportive last Thursday, we 
brought this bill to the Senate floor, and we hotlined it, which means 
we were trying to move it through the Senate very quickly. Every 
Republican cleared that hotline. Essentially, it means we all voted 
yes. When we took it to our colleagues on the other side--look, I know 
my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, care a lot about the Coast 
Guard--it was stalled.
  We kept asking: Come on. Don't you want to support this? You have a 
bunch of cosponsors. Right now, the men and women of the Coast Guard 
are very unique in terms of the military's not getting paid, but there 
was just a delay.
  Senator Kennedy said: I am going to ask for a live unanimous consent. 
Let's just bring it up and pass it. The White House would sign it. We 
could fix this issue today. I bet most of the House would certainly 
vote for it.
  So he brought it up for unanimous consent, and the minority leader 
  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle like to talk a lot about 
hostage-taking with regard to Federal employees. I think they need to 
think a bit harder about what just happened with the men and women of 
the Coast Guard. You heard it from the minority

[[Page S551]]

leader. He said he is not going to do anything about the Coast Guard 
right now even though the President said he would sign it. We could fix 
this tonight.
  Here is the point. We are all working on the broader issue, and we 
are going to vote on some things. If they fail this afternoon, there 
are numbers of us who are working on compromises to fix this whole 
problem. In the meantime, why shouldn't we all be working on the 
important issue--it might not be with regard to the whole government--
of taking care of the men and women of the Coast Guard? People are 
literally risking their lives right now for Americans, not just in 
Alaska or in Texas but all over the world, and they are the only 
members of the military who are not getting paid. We could fix it 
tonight--the President will sign it--as we are working on the broader 
  I don't understand why that is not an acceptable path forward. In 
talking to the men and women of the Coast Guard--certainly, in my 
State--they don't understand either. Yes, we have to come to a 
compromise on this broader issue that ends the partial government 
shutdown--that gets all of our Federal workers back and that secures 
our border. We are all working on that. In the meantime, had the 
minority leader of the U.S. Senate not objected, everybody here--I 
guarantee you it would have included my Democratic colleagues--would 
have voted for this bill to pay the Coast Guard. It just doesn't make 
  I certainly hope my colleagues and my good friend from New York will 
reconsider their blocking of this bill, because we could fix at least 
one element of this. We need to fix it all, but in my view this is a 
very unique element. The men and women who raised their hands to 
support and defend the Constitution and possibly die for this country 
are not getting paid. Yet those in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and 
Marines are. Let's fix it tonight. We can fix it tonight. 
Unfortunately, we just had an objection to doing that. I think it is a 
mistake, and I am hopeful my colleagues will reconsider.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I rise to strongly support the Senator 
from Alaska and the Senator from Louisiana and the Senator from 
  We should pay our Coast Guard. It is not right that we aren't paying 
the Coast Guard. Right now, every other military branch is being paid. 
The Army is being paid. The Navy is being paid. The Air Force is being 
paid. The Marines are being paid. Those in the Coast Guard are not 
being paid even as they are risking their lives.
  Many of us in Texas and along the gulf coast saw the incredible 
heroism of the Coast Guard in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, during 
which so many brave men and women risked their lives to save thousands 
upon thousands of innocents. They should be paid. I think it is 
important for the American people to understand what just happened here 
because it is highly consequential. It is easy for things to get lost 
in procedural gobbledygook and to assume: Well, this is some back and 
forth about the shutdown and about the wall. It has nothing to do with 
any of that.

  What Senator Kennedy did was to bring forward a bill to pay the Coast 
Guard. The bill did nothing else. It didn't address any aspect of the 
shutdown. It didn't address any aspect of the wall. It simply said: 
Let's pay the men and women in the Coast Guard--yes or no. That means 
you can be a yes on that, whether you think we need to secure the 
border and have a steel barrier or whether you support open borders. It 
doesn't say anything either way. It just says that the men and women in 
the Coast Guard deserve paychecks.
  We could have passed that right here today. There is one reason and 
one reason only that we didn't. It is because the Democratic leader 
stood up and said: I object.
  I note that if there are Democrats on the Democratic side of the 
aisle who are not comfortable with that, who agree that the Coast Guard 
should be paid, let me encourage my Democratic colleagues to say so 
because it is their party's leader who has lodged an objection on 
behalf of, effectively, every Democratic Senator.
  The Democrats are fond of using the phrase ``hostage-taking.'' They 
are, quite literally, holding the men and women of the Coast Guard 
hostage because they want to win a political victory against the 
President. Their objective here is to have the President back down and 
to have not a single mile of border wall built--never mind that the 
Democratic leader and every Democrat in this Chamber voted in 2013 to 
build and fund 350 miles of border wall. That was 350 miles that every 
Democrat in this Chamber voted for.
  We are in a shutdown today because they are now unwilling to fund 234 
miles of border wall, which is less than they voted for in 2013.
  We understand that politics rears its head in this business, and the 
Democrats want to defeat the President politically, and so the 
substance is secondary to trying to get the partisan victory over the 
President. Let me suggest that this ought to be an issue. We keep 
fighting back and forth on whether securing the border or having open 
borders is a good idea, but this ought to be an issue that should be 
real simple.
  Senator Kennedy brought forward a clean bill that does one thing and 
one thing only. It pays the salaries of the men and women in the Coast 
Guard. If the Democratic leader hadn't objected, that would have passed 
right now. The President could have signed it tonight. The paychecks 
could have gone out right now for every man and woman in the Coast 
  If you are serving in the Coast Guard in any of our 50 States, let me 
say: No. 1, thank you for your service. Thank you for your heroism. 
Thank you for the amazing difference you make. You deserve to be paid. 
You will be paid. But if you want to know why you aren't being paid 
right now, it is because the Democratic leader objected to your getting 
a paycheck.
  It is my hope that the Democratic Senators will go to their leader 
and say: This is a bad idea for Democratic Senators to hold hostage the 
paychecks of the men and women of the Coast Guard.
  We should pay the Coast Guard, and that ought to be something that 
commands unanimous, bipartisan support.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, I want to make one other point after 
the eloquent comments of my good friend from Texas.
  We have already done something similar here. We are all breaking for 
lunch right now. My Democratic colleagues are going to go do their 
strategy sessions, and we are going to do the same. I implore my 
Democratic colleagues to go back to their leader and say: Hey, come on. 
Let's rethink this. Here is why. We have already done something 
  I was on the floor when two of my Democratic colleagues from Virginia 
asked for unanimous consent on a bill. Remember, the whole government 
was partially shut down. There was a partial government shutdown. They 
asked for unanimous consent on a bill to make sure that when the 
partial government shutdown was over, everybody would receive backpay. 
We are actually doing work on smaller but very important issues. I was 
on the floor when they did that. I certainly voted yes.
  By the way, that went to the President. He said he was going to sign 
it, and he signed it. That became a law just about 2 weeks ago, as we 
have been debating and trying to find a compromise.
  So the notion that we are not doing any work and that we are not 
passing any laws that are impacting Federal workers until the whole 
thing is over is actually not true. We have already done it.
  This would be analogous to what we did 2 weeks ago, and that was led 
by the Democrats. The thing about this Coast Guard bill right now is 
that it is very, very bipartisan.
  Mr. CRUZ. Would the Senator from Alaska yield for a question?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Yes.
  Mr. CRUZ. Did the bill that Senator Kennedy brought forward do 
anything--anything else--beyond simply paying the men and women of the 
Coast Guard?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. No, it just made it so there was parity between the 
brave men and women of the Coast Guard and the brave men and women of 
the Army,

[[Page S552]]

Navy, Air Force, and Marines--all of whom are risking their lives for 
our country and our citizens.
  Right now, the men and women of the Coast Guard are the only ones who 
are not getting paid.
  Mr. CRUZ. So if the Democrats had not objected and it had passed and 
the House had passed it and sent it to the President, could we get the 
men and women of the Coast Guard paid right now, today, and get that 
passed into law?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. I think as soon as possible we could get it passed.
  I talked to the President on Wednesday. He said he was 100 percent 
behind this bill, the way he was behind that other bill to provide 
backpay to everybody else who has been affected by the partial 
government shutdown.
  Mr. CRUZ. So the only thing that is necessary to pass a clean bill, 
paying the salaries of every man and women in the Coast Guard, is for 
the Democratic Senators to withdraw their objection; is that correct?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. That is correct.
  Mr. CRUZ. Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Madam President, as you know, I seldom rise on this floor 
to contradict somebody on the other side. Over the years, I have worked 
very hard to work in a bipartisan way with the Presiding Officer and 
with my Republican colleagues, but these crocodile tears that the 
Senator from Texas is crying for the first responders are too hard for 
me to take.
  They are too hard for me to take because when the Senator from Texas 
shut this government down in 2013, my State was flooded. It was under 
water. People were killed. People's houses were destroyed. Their small 
businesses were ruined forever. Because of the Senator from Texas, this 
government was shut down for politics.
  He surfed to a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses but was of no 
help to the first responders, to the teachers, and to the students 
whose schools were closed with a Federal Government that was shut down 
because of the junior Senator from Texas.
  It is his business--not my business--why he supports a President who 
wants to erect a medieval barrier on the border of Texas, who wants to 
use eminent domain to build that wall, and who wants to declare an 
unconstitutional emergency to build that wall. That is the business of 
the Senator from Texas.
  I can assure you that in Colorado if a President said that he was 
going to use eminent domain to erect a barrier across the State of 
Colorado, across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and he was going to 
steal the property of our farmers and ranchers to build his medieval 
wall, there wouldn't be an elected leader from our State who would 
support that idea.
  That comes to my final point--how ludicrous it is that this 
government is shut down over a promise the President of the United 
States couldn't keep and that America is not interested in having him 
keep. This idea that he was going to build a medieval wall across the 
southern border of Texas, taking it from the farmers and ranchers who 
were there, and have the Mexicans pay for it isn't true. That is why we 
are here, because he is now saying the taxpayers have to pay for it. 
That is not what he said during his campaign.
  Over and over he said that Mexico would pay for the wall--over and 
over again.
  I was going to talk about what he said about the junior Senator's 
father, but I am going to let that alone. It was after that.
  Now we are here with the government shut down over his broken 
promise, while the Chinese are landing spacecraft on the dark side of 
the moon. That is what they are doing, not to mention what they are 
doing in Latin America and with their One Belt, One Road Initiative in 
Asia. That is what they are doing while we are shut down over a promise 
he never thought he could keep and didn't keep.
  Finally, this idea that my colleague from Texas--and I am sorry to 
say this because I respect him. He is obviously a very intelligent 
person, but this idea that Democrats are for open borders is gibberish, 
and it is proven by what the Senator from Louisiana said, which is that 
time after time, we have supported real border security, not a wall 
that Mexico pays for that gets you attention at campaign rallies from 
some people in America and that gets talked about on FOX News at night.
  In 2013, the Senator from Texas didn't support it. I did. In 2013, we 
passed a bill here in a bipartisan way. It got 68 votes. It had $46 
billion for border security in it--$46 billion, not $5 billion for his 
rinky-dink wall that he is talking about building. There was $46 
billion for border security. To be precise about it, it had 350 miles 
of what the President now refers to as steel slats.
  By the way, America, do you hear him not calling it a wall anymore?
  Now it is steel slats. Now it is a border barrier. There were 350 
miles of so-called steel slats in that bill.
  Do you know what else was in that bill? I think the Presiding Officer 
voted for that bill. In that bill, we doubled the number of border 
security agents on the border. They could practically hold hands on 
that border. There were so many border security agents in that bill. We 
had billions of dollars of drone technology so that we could learn what 
we have learned in Afghanistan and in other places, to see every single 
inch of that border--every inch.
  We had internal security in that bill so that small businesses, 
farmers, and ranchers don't have to be the immigration police, and so 
that, finally, in America we could actually know who came here legally 
on a visa but overstayed their visa.
  Forty percent of the people in this country who are undocumented are 
here because they came legally and overstayed. We still can't do that 
in America because that bill passed the Senate, but it couldn't get a 
vote in the House because of the stupidest rule ever created, called 
the Hastert rule, named after somebody who is in prison. That rule has 
allowed a minority of tyrants in the Congress to bring a Democratic 
President low--President Obama, whom they didn't let do anything--to 
ruin the speakership of John Boehner, and to allow Paul Ryan to almost 
accomplish nothing while he was Speaker, except leaving this place in a 
government shutdown.
  The so-called Freedom Caucus has had a veto around this place for 10 
years and completely distorted the Republican Party here, if I do say 
so myself. That may sound presumptuous, but I know a lot of Republicans 
in Colorado who don't agree with almost anything or anything that the 
Freedom Caucus has stood for. Yet they have had a veto on good, 
bipartisan legislation passed by the U.S. Senate.

  So I am not going to stand here and take it from somebody who has 
shut down the government while my State was flooded or from a President 
who says that he wants $5 billion to build some antiquated, medieval 
wall, which he said Mexico would pay for, when I helped write and voted 
for a bill that actually would have secured the border of the United 
States of America, that would have secured our internal defenses as 
  This is a joke, and the fact that it consumes the cable networks all 
night, every night, and all the rest of it--this government should be 
open. We can debate whatever it is we want to debate.
  Do you think the Chinese don't know that we can't land a spaceship on 
the dark side of the moon? Do you think the Russians don't know that 
for the first time since John Glenn was sent up to orbit this planet, 
America cannot put a person into space without asking the Russians to 
do it? Do you think the rest of the world doesn't know that we are not 
investing in our infrastructure; that we are not investing in the young 
generation of Americans; that we are willing to lose the race for 
artificial intelligence to the Chinese; that we are going to break all 
of our longstanding alliances since World War II at a moment when China 
is rising; that China's GDP has quadrupled since 2001, tripled since 
2003, doubled since 2009? Do we think that no one in the rest of the 
world knows all of that about us?
  We should reopen this government today. We should reopen it today. 
Then, what I hope much more than that is that we actually come together 
to figure out how we are going to govern this country again and stop 
playing petty, partisan politics, which is going to do nothing to 
educate the next generation of Americans, which is going to do nothing 
to fix the fiscal condition of this country.
  For 10 years--for 10 years, I have heard the junior Senator from 

[[Page S553]]

and I have heard the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives 
talk about how important it is to get the fiscal condition of our 
government fixed. In fact, that has been the pretext for shutdowns and 
for fiscal cliffs and for all of this stuff that does nothing but 
denigrate our democratic Republic.
  Now, for the first time almost in history--it happened once before 
during the Vietnam war--we are actually having our deficit shooting 
through the roof while unemployment has fallen. It has never happened 
before. These are the people who called Barack Obama a Bolshevik and a 
socialist at the depths of the recession, when we had a 10-percent 
unemployment rate, and didn't lift a finger to do anything. They have 
now given us a fiscal condition where our deficit is going up while our 
unemployment rate is falling. Do you know how hard it is to accomplish 
that? Do you know how irresponsible you would have to be to accomplish 
that? Yet that is what has been accomplished.
  When I was first here--it was actually a little after I was first 
here--I used to walk through Denver International Airport, which we are 
very proud of in Colorado. By the way, it is the most recent airport 
that has been constructed in America. While we have been closed, other 
airports around the world--new airports have been opened just while we 
have been closed.
  Denver International Airport is the most recent airport in the 
country to be opened. It was opened 25 years ago--a quarter of a 
century ago--and during moments like those when the Senator from Texas 
shut down the government while Colorado was underneath floods and 
people had lost all of the things I talked about earlier--their houses, 
their jobs, and their lives--I used to want to walk through that 
airport with a paper bag over my head because I was so embarrassed to 
be part of this.
  I often wondered why anyone in their right mind would want to work in 
a place that has a 9-percent approval rating. In fact, I brought a 
chart--two charts--one day to the floor, one that showed we hadn't 
always had a 9-percent approval rating, to remind people how far we had 
fallen in the public's estimation over the time that the Senator from 
Texas and I have been here. Then I brought out another chart that 
looked at who else has a 9-percent approval rating. I can't remember 
all--it has sort of been lost in the mist of time--but I do remember 
that the IRS had a 40-percent approval rating; there was an actress who 
had a 13-percent approval rating; more people wanted America to be a 
Communist country--11 percent--than approved of this Congress; and 
Fidel Castro had a 5-percent approval rating, which was lower than our 
9-percent approval rating. He was the only one who had a lower rating 
than that.
  So my question, often, was this: Why would anybody want to work in a 
place that has such a low approval rating, and why would they want to 
behave in a way that only made matters worse?
  I am sorry to say this, but there is an answer. If you think you have 
been sent here to dismantle the Federal Government--and I have lots of 
problems with this Federal Government. I think it does a lot of things 
very well, and, as a westerner, I certainly believe we need to not be 
in the business of defending bad government. We need to be improving 
the government. But if you think your job is to dismantle it--as the 
Freedom Caucus does, in my view--then a 9-percent approval rating suits 
you just fine because you get to go home and say ``See how terrible all 
of those guys are? See what idiots all of those guys are?'' while you 
are taking your pay while the Federal workers are not getting paid, 
while you are keeping your job while they are losing their job.

  There has been an effort not just to dismantle the Federal Government 
but to separate it from the American people, to claim that it is 
someone else's or that it is corrupt. In many ways, I think it is; I 
believe it is. I believe this place is one of the most corrupt parts of 
the whole thing. But because it is corrupt or because it can't get its 
act together or because it is too far away from the people or, I think 
I would say, because it is populated by a bunch of self-interested 
politicians who don't care about the priorities of the American 
people--whatever the reason is, it is not separate. It is not separate. 
The reason that is important is that we live in a democratic Republic, 
and the Founders of this country did two things that had never happened 
in human history: They led a successful armed insurrection against a 
colonial power in one generation, and they formed a democratic Republic 
whose Constitution was ratified by the people who would live under it.
  What they knew because they were enlightened thinkers--or I should 
say not what they knew but what they believed because they had only bad 
examples from which to draw when they sat there in Philadelphia writing 
that Constitution--but what they knew was that in a Republic, we would 
have disagreements. That was their expectation, and their belief was 
that out of those disagreements we would--and, by the way, they knew we 
would have disagreements because they had disagreements, and they had 
failed on some very important things. It has to be said. They 
perpetuated human slavery because they couldn't come to an agreement 
about that, and other people, whom I think of as Founders--just as 
important, just as significant as those Founders--ended the enslavement 
of human beings in America and did other important things, such as make 
sure my daughters had the right to vote. Those people also are 
Founders. But what they believed at their core was that through our 
disagreements, we would forge more imaginative and more durable 
solutions than any King or tyrant could come up with on their own. That 
was their belief. That was their expectation.
  I would say that our country, in many ways, has eclipsed any 
expectation they ever had of what America would become. For the moment, 
we are the richest country in the world. We have the greatest capacity 
for self-defense of any human population in the history of the world. 
We are far more democratic and far more free, with all of our 
imperfections, than they would have ever imagined and probably than 
most of them would have ever wanted. We are the longest lived democracy 
in human history. But, for some reason, there is a generation of 
politicians in America today who don't think it is necessary to live up 
to the standard that they set and the standard lots of other people 
have set from the founding of our country 230 years ago until today.
  I don't even know what day it is anymore of this record-long 
shutdown, but the pretext for it is an invention. It is a creation of 
something in the President's mind. It was something we have learned 
from reading the press that was a mnemonic device used during the 
campaign to remind him to talk about immigration in an effort to divide 
Americans from one another instead of an effort to bring us together, 
in an effort to turn what just 3 years ago was a bipartisan issue in 
the Senate--securing our southern border with $46 billion--into a 
cudgel to be wielded at campaign rallies.
  In any case, the least we could do while we have these shabby 
disagreements that are not worthy of our predecessors, that are not 
worthy of the State I represent--which is one-third Democratic, one-
third Republican, and one-third Independent--that are threatening to 
make our generation the first generation of Americans to leave less 
opportunity, not more, to the people coming after us, a generation of 
politicians who are openly suggesting that America's role in the world 
should be diminished--the least we could do is reopen our government 
and stop pursuing this self-inflicted harm that it creates in having 
hundreds of thousands of Federal workers out of work and not being 
paid, not able to support their families while we continue to stand on 
this floor, having mindless arguments that are going to do nothing to 
advance the future of our country.
  We shouldn't shut the government down, as it has been in this case, 
for a campaign promise the President, I am sure, knew he could never 
  With that, I yield floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ernst). The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, there is an old saying in Texas among 
Texas trial lawyers. If you have the facts, you bang the facts. If you 
have the law, you bang the law. If you don't have either one, you bang 
the table. We have seen a whole lot of table banging right here on this 
  The Senator from Colorado spent a great deal of time yelling, spent a

[[Page S554]]

great deal of time attacking me personally. He did at one point briefly 
rise to the defense of my father. I appreciate that gesture, but he 
spent a lot of time yelling.
  I will say, in my time in the Senate, I don't believe I have ever 
bellowed or yelled at one of my colleagues on the Senate floor, and I 
hope in my time before me, I never do that. I think we should discuss 
issues and substance and facts and not simply scream and yell at each 
  Let's go over some of the facts. In the angry speech of the Senator 
from Colorado, he did not dispute, No. 1, that he and every other 
Senate Democrat in 2013 voted for 350 miles of border wall. That is a 
fact. He has voted for 350 miles of border wall, as did every other 
Democrat in this Chamber at that time.
  No. 2, he did not dispute that in December of last year, the then-
Republican House of Representatives voted to fund the government--to 
fund the entirety of the government--and to secure the border, and the 
Senator from Colorado, and I believe every other Democrat, filibustered 
that bill and caused the shutdown.
  I voted to take up that bill. You voted to take up that bill. Had we 
taken up the bill, had we simply passed the bill the House of 
Representatives had passed funding the government and securing the 
border, the government would never have shut down.
  It takes some degree of chutzpah to stand up, after filibustering 
funding for the government, as the Democrats did, and blame the 
shutdown on the opposing party.
  The Senator from Colorado did not dispute the Republican House voted 
to fund the government, and he and his Democratic colleagues 
filibustered that, which caused the shutdown.
  No. 3, the Senator from Colorado did not dispute that the stated 
reason the Democrats filibustered that bill is because it authorized 
the funding of 234 miles of wall.
  I have to say, I find it amusing that a new adjective has crept in. 
It is now not 234 miles of wall; it is medieval wall. I don't know if 
there is something in there that has a moat and has catapults that are 
throwing burning tar--medieval wall now.
  It is kind of an odd thing. It does raise the question: Well, if 
walls are medieval, why did the Senator from Colorado and every other 
Democrat in 2013 vote for 350 miles of medieval wall? To the extent 
walls are medieval, they presumably were medieval in 2013, just as much 
as they are now.
  The President has a good observation. He said: I will tell you 
something else that is medieval, the wheel. There is a reason the wheel 
is medieval--because it rolls things, and it works. Walls are 
  Unlike the Senator from Colorado, I live in a border State. We have 
1,200 miles of border. I have spent a great deal of time down at the 
border with Border Patrol agents. We have miles and miles of wall right 
now that are working. I have been to those walls--not once, not twice 
but over and over again.
  One of the rich things about this Chamber is, Senators from States 
nowhere near the border presume to lecture border States about what it 
is like on the border and what works securing the border. Walls are 
effective. I will tell you, every single Border Patrol agent I have 
asked----and I have asked dozens, probably hundreds of Border Patrol 
agents--are walls effective, unquestionably, they say yes.
  Let's not destruct the straw man. Walls are not the only thing. You 
need technology. You need boots on the ground. You need all sorts of 
other tools. The critical point in intercepting someone crossing over 
illegally is the time between detection and interception, and what a 
wall does is slows down the traffickers to give the Border Patrol time 
to intercept them.

  By the way, we have seen it over and over again in San Diego. When 
they built the wall, the illegal traffic plummeted. In El Paso, when 
they built the wall, the illegal traffic plummeted. Now the Democrats' 
position is not substantive. They voted for 350 miles of wall. So why 
are they shutting the government down over 234 miles of wall? It is not 
substantive; it is political.
  We get that they hate Donald Trump. If anyone in America had missed 
that point--that they really don't like this man--their yelling and 
screaming and bellowing has made that abundantly clear. Just because 
you hate somebody doesn't mean you should shut down the government. I 
voted to keep this government open, right now, today. The Democrats are 
filibustering funding for the government.
  Let me tell you something else the Senator from Colorado didn't 
dispute. We had a whole colloquy with the Senator from Louisiana and 
the Senator from Mississippi and the Senator from Alaska about funding 
the Coast Guard. Did you notice, in that entire bellowing speech, the 
words ``Coast Guard'' were never uttered? Not once.
  What Senator Kennedy asked this body to do was pass a clean bill to 
pay the paychecks of the Coast Guard. Senator Kennedy's bill doesn't 
mention a wall--whether you like one or not, it doesn't mention a 
medieval wall or any other kind. It simply says: Pay the Coast Guard--
yes, no.
  Every Republican agrees, pay the Coast Guard right now. It is not 
fair to treat the Coast Guard differently than we are treating the Army 
and Navy and Marines and Air Force.
  The Senator from Colorado didn't address that because it is 
indisputable, it is a fact that the reason that didn't pass right now 
is because the Democratic leader stood up and made an objection.
  By implication, every Democratic Senator presumably agrees with it. 
The fact that the Senator from Colorado didn't say, yes, we should fund 
the Coast Guard, and, you know what, my leader was wrong when he held 
the paychecks of the Coast Guard's men and women hostage because he 
wants to win a political fight with the President.
  By the way, I would note to the Senator of Colorado, it is not the 
end of the world to stand up to your party's leader. Some of us have a 
history of having done so in the past.
  We are now in the longest government shutdown in history. This 
shutdown needs to end--the American people want it to end--but we also 
need to secure the border.
  I have to say, the contrast between the two parties could not be 
clearer. The President has repeatedly said he wants to negotiate and 
compromise. He says he is willing to meet in the middle. He hasn't 
insisted on every mile of border wall he asked for. He hasn't insisted 
on every single dollar of border security. He said: Let's meet and 
compromise. Republicans on this side of the Chamber have said: Let's 
compromise in the middle.
  The position of Senate Democrats is that they will not negotiate; 
they will not compromise, period. Their position, how many miles of 
wall can be built? Zero. They are not to 1 yet. When it comes to 
negotiating, their position is not an inch of wall can be built, even 
though we the Democrats already voted for 350 miles of it. Why? Because 
Donald Trump is President.
  That is an extreme and radical position. Look, I understand, folks 
watching at home, it is hard to tell--you are reading the news. It 
seems like both parties are bickering. It is hard to tell what is 
happening, particularly because on the Senate floor, there is a lot of 
procedural mumbo jumbo.
  If you want to understand what is going on, the exchange between 
Senator Kennedy and Senator Schumer illustrates it all. Senator 
Kennedy's bill did one thing and one thing only. It paid the salaries 
of the men and women of the Coast Guard. It didn't touch any other 
  Every Republican agrees with that bill. The Democrats objected and 
said: We will not pay the Coast Guard.
  Had they not objected, we could put that bill on the President's desk 
today, and they could get their paychecks right now. That is emblematic 
of the approach of Senate Democrats.
  When the Senator from Colorado stopped screaming at me, he then 
engaged in a bit of historical retrospective about the great Framers of 
our Constitution, which I enjoyed and very much agree with. I am 
someone who spent a lifetime devoted to the Constitution. I am inspired 
by the Framers who gave us this extraordinary democratic Republic. The 
Senator from Colorado called for Members of this body to aspire to be 
more like the men and women who gave us this country, gave us this 
Republic, if you can keep it, as Benjamin Franklin put it. I concur 
with that.

[[Page S555]]

  What I urge the Senator from Colorado do is to reach out to his 
Democratic colleagues and counsel compromise. I am urging my colleagues 
on this side to do the same. The difference is, the Republicans are 
willing to compromise, have offered to compromise, and, in fact, just 
now sought to pay the Coast Guard, and the Democratic position is: No, 
no, no. We object.
  That is partisan, it is extreme, and it is not behavior that would 
bring pride to the Framers of our Constitution. I hope this body can do 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. I thank the Senator from Texas for having this 
conversation. I don't think I was yelling--but I will go watch the 
tape--or screaming at you. I also have never called anybody on this 
floor a liar, as you did, in 2015. I get the theatrics of all of this.
  I guess I want to say two things. One, I appreciate the fact that 
you, at least, seem to be accepting the fact that every Democrat who is 
here, on that immigration bill in 2013, voted for it--voted for the 350 
miles of wall you are talking about. You didn't vote for that bill or 
the Senator from Texas didn't vote for that bill, and I assume you had 
your reasons.
  By the way, I wouldn't presume to think what the Senator would think 
about as a person from a border State. My State is not far from the 
border. We see the effects for ill and for good of immigration in my 
  I do know this. There were two Senators from a border State--the 
border State of Arizona--who were on that Gang of 8 bill, with whom I 
sat, day after day, negotiating the provisions for months. They didn't 
have to just vote for the bill or against it, but they had to go home 
to Arizona--John McCain and Jeff Flake did--and explain why they 
supported it and why it was the right thing to do for Arizona, which, 
as the Senator from Texas knows, is a border State.
  The idea that there is a problem to be solved here because Democrats 
in this Chamber are for open borders is false, as the Senator 
indicated. The second point is, the Senator from Texas referenced Ben 
  Ben Franklin was standing outside the steps of Constitution Hall, and 
somebody who was passing by--this is while they were writing the 
Constitution--said: Mr. Franklin, what kind of government are you 
creating--a monarchy or a republic?
  That was the question. As Senator Cruz has said, his answer was ``a 
Republic, if you can keep it''--if you can keep it. His answer was not 
``a Republic''; it was ``a Republic, if you can keep it,'' because he 
knew that the words written in the Constitution weren't going to 
preserve themselves, that this exercise in democratic self-government, 
a democratic republic, would require generations of women and men--not 
just in this Chamber but as citizens and I would say as founders--to 
keep the Republic they created.
  That is what is at stake here. That is what is at stake when the 
government has been shut down for politics, when we have a President 
who doesn't believe in the rule of law, who attacks judges whose 
decisions he disagrees with, who attacks the free press, who have that 
freedom because of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  It is that Republic which is at risk when we are not educating the 
next generation of Americans, when we are not investing in our 
infrastructure, when we have the unbelievable and unprecedented fiscal 
hypocrisy that has resulted in a ballooning deficit while the 
unemployment rate is going down. It is a farce. It is a farce.
  My closing word is to say that I will work with anybody--including 
the Senator from Texas, if he will work with me--to put this sorry 
episode behind us. And I don't mean this sorry episode of this 
government shutdown, although that is a sorry and pathetic episode, but 
this episode of American political history where we have done so little 
for the next generation of Americans and done almost nothing to honor 
the legacy of our parents and grandparents and the people who came 
before them. That would be worth doing around this place before we all 
  With that, Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.

                           Government Funding

  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, let's put this in realistic terms. I have 
been here through eight Presidents. I am now in my 45th year. I have 
never seen anything like the Trump shutdown from the day it began 34 
days ago until now.
  I hear from people every day about the pain and suffering this 
shutdown has caused. Certainly I hear from my home State of Vermont. We 
know that tomorrow hundreds of thousands of public servants will miss 
their second paycheck since this shutdown began. Many of these public 
servants have had to work the entire time. They are angry. They are 
confused about why their paychecks are being held hostage by the 
President in what he appears to view as a political game. Many of these 
people can no longer pay their bills. They are worried about what 
tomorrow will bring, and all of us should worry.
  We know that our basic government services are no longer functioning. 
Our Federal courts will run out of money by the end of this month. 
Important scientific research has been put on hold. Think of the cost 
to turn it back on. The fishing industry is in turmoil because they 
cannot get the Federal permits or inspections required to take out 
their boats. In the wake of a record-setting fire season, the Forest 
Service has curtailed thinning and fire-prevention projects. Federal 
law enforcement and prosecutors are sounding the alarm that the 
shutdown is hindering important investigative work and criminal 
prosecutions. The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, has 
employees who are calling in sick in record numbers after a month of 
being on the job with no paycheck. Some even say they cannot pay for 
the gas to get to the job. These are the people charged with detecting 
dangerous threats at our Nation's airports. Instead, they are stressed 
and frustrated. Everybody knows that is not a very good combination. 
Long lines are forming at airports. A lack of TSA employees has forced 
some major airports to close screening areas, causing further delays.
  I could go on and on, but we know the Trump shutdown is hurting our 
Nation and our citizens. Overseas, it makes the United States of 
America look weak and foolish. This great country is made to look weak 
and foolish by the Trump shutdown.
  We can end it right now, today, and for the sake of the country, we 
should. The McConnell amendment, the so-called End the Shutdown and 
Reopen the Government Act, we all know is a nonstarter. I came to the 
floor yesterday, and I detailed why. I am not going to repeat that here 
  It is the height of irresponsibility to use the pain and suffering of 
the American people as leverage to force the U.S. taxpayers to fund the 
President's bumper-sticker, campaign slogan southern border wall--on 
his solemn promise that Mexico would pay for it--or to enact his hard-
line, anti-immigrant agenda. That is what the bill does. It is not a 
compromise. It is not a deal. I hope my fellow Senators oppose it. If 
we give in to these tactics now, where will it stop? What is the next 
thing the President will shut down the government over?
  H.R. 268, which is what the Schumer amendment contains, is a 
bipartisan bill that we should all support. It would reopen the 
government by extending funding for the seven remaining appropriations 
bills through February 8, 2019. Remember, those are appropriations 
bills that Chairman Shelby and I worked very hard on and that passed 
through the committee virtually unanimously. We ought to applaud that. 
The passage of the bill will ensure that Federal employees are paid and 
that critical services are restored and provide time for negotiation 
and debate on border security without the American people being held 
hostage to the President's ill-considered, anti-immigrant agenda. I 
urge Senators to vote for it.
  On December 19, in this Chamber, we passed the bill to fund the 
government until February 8. We did it unanimously by a voice vote. 
Republicans were in charge of both the House and the Senate at that 
time. In other words, the Senate was for keeping the government open. 
The President's own Republican leaders supported it. Suddenly, he 
changed his mind, and the Republican leaders had to back off.

[[Page S556]]

  H.R. 268 also provides $14 billion in assistance to help communities 
and families impacted by natural disasters recover and rebuild. It 
provides assistance to the victims of Hurricanes Michael and Florence, 
the California wildfires, the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, the recent 
typhoons in the Pacific, and other natural disasters. It will also 
continue assistance for Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the 
category 5 Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
  The McConnell amendment contains a disaster package nearly identical 
to H.R. 268, but to appease the President, it eliminates all disaster 
assistance for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is part of America. I know the 
President referred to it as an island surrounded by water, as though 
that is the only island that is surrounded by water. The McConnell 
amendment eliminates $1.3 billion in funding for clean and safe 
drinking water grants, community redevelopment funds, and nutrition 
assistance that would help the American citizens of Puerto Rico 
continue their recovery.
  Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico and destroyed the 
island's homes and infrastructure. Hurricane Maria caused the deaths of 
2,975 Americans. It is one of the deadliest hurricanes this country has 
ever seen.
  While Congress has provided Puerto Rico with assistance in past 
disaster bills, they still have unaddressed needs that have to be met. 
Absent supplemental assistance, it is estimated that 140,000 Puerto 
Ricans--and I have to reemphasize that they are all U.S. citizens--are 
going to lose nutrition assistance at the end of March. This in the 
United States of America? Is there any wonder that the rest of the 
world looks at us and says: What are you doing? We are supposed to take 
care of all of our citizens when there is a crisis, not pick and choose 
based on who we are or who we are aligned with politically.
  Just as I voted for disaster aid in States represented by 
Republicans, Republicans have voted for disaster aid in my State when 
it has been represented by Democrats. The President's disregard for the 
victims of Hurricane Maria is shameful.
  I urge Senators to vote aye on the Schumer amendment. It provides 
much needed assistance to disaster-affected communities, and it 
immediately allows us to send this bill to the President to reopen the 
government. It has gone on long enough.
  The President and the people in his Cabinet are billionaires. They do 
not care about the harm he has inflicted on this country, but I know 
Members of this body, both Democrats and Republicans, do. We know what 
it means to govern. We have a responsibility to do it now.
  Senator Shelby, whom I admire, is a friend of mine. He and I worked 
together last year in a bipartisan way. We got the appropriations 
process back on track. We showed that this is the way to get things 
done. But then the President decided to take us off course.
  The Senate is an independent, coequal branch of government. We should 
act like it. Let's end this national nightmare. Let's vote to open the 
government now for our fellow Americans. Let's do it now, today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SHELBY. Madam President, just a few months ago, we stood here on 
the Senate floor celebrating the progress we had made together in the 
appropriations process, as Senator Leahy has just alluded to. I believe 
we are all tired of lurching from crisis to crisis amid partisan 
bickering. Both sides resolved then to put aside partisan differences 
and work together for the good of the American people, and it worked.
  Together, we funded 75 percent of the government on time. While we 
would have preferred to have funded 100 percent, it was considerably 
more progress than we had made in decades. Yet we find ourselves here 
today more than 1 month into the longest partial shutdown of the 
government in American history. It is enough to give you whiplash.
  Funding the remaining 25 percent of government is a task before us 
here today. Homeland security, border security, is the linchpin. We 
know that. Are our differences really as insurmountable as they seem? 
They should not be, and I want to discuss why.
  Last May, the Appropriations Committee considered the fiscal year 
2019 Homeland Security bill. That bill included money for a physical 
barrier at the southern border. In fact, it included an increase in 
funding over the 2018 level for a physical barrier.
  Our Democratic colleagues made no attempt to strike this funding, 
just as Republicans made no effort to strike funding for Democratic 
priorities in the bill. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan 
support in the committee--a vote of 26 to 5. There were no fireworks or 
histrionics in the hearing room that day. There was no demand to delay 
the Homeland Security bill until the rest of the Federal Government was 
funded. Rather, the committee simply decided together, on a bipartisan 
basis, to increase funding for a project that Congress funded the 
previous year. The fireworks and demands for delayed consideration came 
  It boggles the mind at times how we return so quickly to a standoff 
mode--to a zero-sum mentality--after making so much progress together. 
It is particularly perplexing to me considering bipartisan support is 
exactly what underpinned the very thing that now divides us so 
  Just a few months ago, funding for a physical barrier in the southern 
border was part of a bipartisan deal, and now we cannot even really 
discuss it. That was then. I understand that. But where do we go from 
here? Who is offering real solutions, comprehensive solutions to end 
this impasse?
  The President, for his part, has proposed a serious and, I think, a 
reasonable compromise--a comprehensive solution. I commend him for 
that. He is doing what the American people expect, I think, showing a 
willingness to work together to find common ground.
  I encourage my Democratic colleagues to reciprocate here. We have in 
the past. If this proposal today is unacceptable, I ask my colleagues 
on the other side to put something on the table that could help move us 
off the dime. Work with us. Propose a comprehensive solution to get us 
moving in the right direction. But simply saying no, demanding that we 
deal with border security later, is not going to cut it today.
  What do we do about solving our crisis? This is a real crisis. If not 
now, when? When will be the time to secure the border? What good will 
more time or talking do?
  The American people have been promised that border security will come 
later since the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty in 1986. Look at where we are 
today--still waiting, still talking. The drug smuggling, the human 
trafficking, and the chaos are a real crisis. We know what must be 
done. It is a question of what will be done.
  I say this afternoon in the Senate, let's come together. Let's put 
the bitterness behind us and do what is right for the American people--
end the shut-down and secure the border. The real question before us 
today is this: Is this the beginning of the end or is it just the end 
of the beginning? We shall find out.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, 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.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, in a moment, the Senate will proceed to 
two amendments: one on the President's proposal and one on a 2-week 
continuing resolution that opens up the government, with disaster 
  Let me be clear: The two votes are not alike. The President's 
proposal makes radical changes to our asylum laws and demands that 
American taxpayers fund a border wall in exchange for reopening the 
government. The second vote demands nothing--no partisan demands, no 
ransom. It reopens the government for 2 weeks and provides long overdue 
disaster aid, and then it leaves room for us to debate how to best 
secure our border.
  My Republican friends can fall in line behind the President if they 
choose, but it does not have the support of the House or the Senate. 
Contrary to what

[[Page S557]]

the Republican leader says, that there is only one bill that will 
become law, that is not so. His bill will not pass the Senate and will 
not pass the House. It is not the only way for us to make a law.
  After the first vote fails, Republicans will have a chance to vote 
with us to reopen their government. The second vote determines whether 
you want to reopen the government or not. The second vote determines 
whether you are willing to reopen the government without taking 
hostages, without hurting 800,000 workers, and without hurting America 
but open the government with no conditions. We can send that bill to 
the President's desk. It has already passed the House.
  The President may choose to veto it, just as we may choose to 
override that veto. My dear friend from Louisiana missed that point. If 
we act with 67 votes, even if the President doesn't like it, it can 
  We all know it was the President who threw us into this turmoil when 
he changed his mind and opposed a bill to reopen the government without 
conditions--just like the one we offered in December and the House 
wouldn't go forward with, even though the Senate voted for it 
  Our bill should not be controversial. Our amendment is nearly the 
same bill Republicans all voted for a month ago. It shows that the one 
cause of this shutdown is the one person who bragged he wanted it--
President Donald Trump.
  Last month, the Senate unanimously passed the short-term bill to keep 
the government open. It was Leader McConnell's idea. Everyone thought 
the President would support it, but President Trump buckled to the most 
extreme voices in his party and reversed his position at the eleventh 
hour. That is how the government shutdown began, sadly and 
unfortunately. Since then, we tried to negotiate with the 
administration to no avail. When the President's deputies made offers, 
the President almost immediately retracted them. The President even 
rejected an idea by Senator Graham, one of his staunchest allies in the 
Senate, to reopen government temporarily while we debate border 
  Now the President is back with a ``straw man'' proposal, as the 
Senator from Oklahoma called it, that makes the same demand he has been 
making all along: $5.7 billion taxpayer dollars for a border wall he 
promised Mexico would pay for, and it adds a new radical change to our 
asylum laws. What the President calls concessions to Democrats are the 
protections for DACA and TPS recipients that the President himself 
rescinded and have been subsequently protected by the court.
  Calling this a reasonable compromise is laughable. It is a starkly 
partisan proposal that perfectly encapsulates the President's hostage-
taking of the American government. This is what the President could be 
saying in this bill: Give me everything I want in exchange for 
reopening the government. A vote for the President's plan is very 
simply an endorsement of government by extortion. Enough is enough.
  I know that many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
agree with me. They understand that holding our government workers 
hostage for a policy goal is no way to govern. I know they feel that 
way. I urge them to vote yes on the second vote.
  Supporting our amendment doesn't mean you don't support stronger 
border security. To the contrary, it starts funding that effort once 
again. Voting for this amendment means you agree with the vast majority 
of the American people that the government should open without 
precondition. Voting for this amendment means you recognize that 
holding millions of Americans hostage is not a way to run our 
government. Voting for this amendment means that you believe members of 
the Coast Guard, the TSA, the DHS, and the FBI should be paid for their 
work protecting our country. Voting for this amendment means you 
support our air traffic controllers, food inspectors, and the men and 
women who work at our national parks. And yes, voting for this 
amendment means that you support border security. It means you support 
a way out of this shutdown where we can sit down and rationally hash 
out our differences. If we can't do that, if we can't agree today that 
the way to solve disagreements over policy is through debate and 
consideration in Congress where it belongs, then we are staring down a 
very long and very dark tunnel.
  Our system of government was designed to allow space for 
disagreements, even vociferous ones, but when one side--in this case, 
the President--uses the basic functioning of our government as leverage 
to extract policy concessions, our entire system of government breaks 
down. It is a recipe for gridlock, dysfunction, and paralysis, not only 
now but on into the future.
  I believe there are men and women of good faith on both sides of the 
aisle who want to see this senselessness come to an end today. Let the 
Senate come together now. Let the Senate rise to the occasion as it has 
done so often in the past. Vote yes on the second amendment. Open the 
people's government.
  I yield the floor.