(Senate - January 25, 2019)

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[Pages S671-S679]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         TO PROCEED--Continued

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will come to order.

                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.

                           Government Funding

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, for weeks, I have continuously said I 
wouldn't let the Senate become a theater for show votes and messaging 
stunts from either side. We would only vote on plans that stood an 
actual chance of being signed by the President and, thus, obviously 
becoming law.
  So I was glad to hear today the President's announcement that he and 
our Democratic colleagues have reached an agreement that will 
immediately reopen the government while providing the room to negotiate 
a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Further, 
negotiations on DHS will be prioritized over the consideration of any 
other funding bill. With cooperation, we can pass legislation opening 
the government, and we can send the DHS appropriations bill to a 
conference today with the House.
  I am glad the closed portions of the Federal Government will reopen 
and get back online. I am glad the dedicated men and women of the Coast 
Guard, law enforcement, the TSA, and all of the other Federal employees 
will not have to go longer without pay for their work and will receive 
their backpay. I know the pain this episode has caused for many 
Kentuckians and for people all over our country. They deserve this 
  In going forward, I hope our Democratic friends will stay true to the 
commitment they have stated constantly over the past weeks that once 
the government was reopened, they would be perfectly willing to 
negotiate in good faith on full-year government funding that would 
include a significant investment in urgently needed border security 
measures, including physical barriers.
  After all, the only way Federal workers are going to have stability 
and certainty beyond the next 3 weeks and the only way our border is 
going to have real security is if the Democrats will stop playing 
partisan games and get serious about negotiating with the President on 
a long-term compromise.
  The days ahead will tell us whether our Democratic colleagues are 
actually serious about securing our Nation--whether they actually mean 
what they say. The President has called on the Senate to act on these 
proposals, and now that there has been an agreement between the 
Democrats and the White House, we can make that happen.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, the longest shutdown in American 
history will finally end today. The President has agreed to our request 
to open the government and then debate border security, which is great 
news for 800,000 Federal workers and millions of Americans who depend 
upon government services. I thank President Trump and Leader McConnell.

[[Page S672]]

  As just outlined, we have agreed to pass a clean 3-week continuing 
resolution to reopen the government. Also, we will pass legislation in 
the Senate that will be related to the Department of Homeland Security 
so the House and Senate can participate in a conference committee on 
that legislation. In the conference, Democrats and Republicans will 
have the opportunity to negotiate the details of the Homeland Security 
bill, which will include issues of border security, humanitarian aid, 
drug inspection technology, and many others. We expect the continuing 
resolution to clear the House and be signed by the President today.
  As soon as the President signs the legislation to open the 
government, we in Congress will roll up our sleeves. I genuinely hope 
this process will produce something that is good for the country and 
acceptable to both sides. We don't agree on some of the specifics of 
border security--the Democrats are against the wall--but we agree on 
many things, such as the need for new technology and the need to 
strengthen security at our ports of entry, and that bodes well for our 
coming to an eventual agreement.
  I believe there is good faith on both sides to reach an agreement, 
and we will work diligently to achieve one. Because we have set this up 
as a conference, Democratic and Republican leadership from the House 
and Senate will be involved, as will the appropriators from those 
  Most importantly, this agreement means the government will reopen and 
that 800,000 Federal employees will finally get paid. After over a 
month of increasing desperation, our dedicated public servants will get 
the relief and paychecks they are entitled to, including backpay.
  From the bottom of my heart, I thank the Federal workers who have 
worked so selflessly this past month. They should never have to go 
through this again. We will do everything we can to make sure they will 
not have to.
  The past month has proven just how vital government services are to 
the American people, whether they be air traffic control, food safety 
inspections, the Coast Guard, national parks, and so many others. With 
this agreement, the TSA, the Border Patrol, and FBI agents will all be 
paid again for protecting our country. Our airports will get back on 
track, and we will resume the maintenance of our cherished national 
parks. The IRS will be able to issue tax refunds in a timely manner--
all critical for the well-being of the American people.
  As Democrats have said all along, the solution to this impasse was to 
separate funding the government from our disagreements over border 
security. This agreement endorses that position. It reopens the 
government without preconditions, and it gives Democrats and 
Republicans an opportunity to discuss border security without holding 
hundreds of thousands of American workers hostage.
  Hopefully, it means a lesson has been learned--shutting down the 
government over a policy difference is self-defeating. It accomplishes 
nothing but pain and suffering for the country and the American people. 
That is a lesson we all must bear in mind when this next continuing 
resolution expires, which will make its success more likely. We can 
never hold American workers hostage again.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, government shutdowns are never 
justified, and I have opposed every one of them. This shutdown--the 
longest in our Nation's history--has caused real harm to 800,000 
Federal employees and their families.
  Just today, I heard from a Federal employee in Belfast, ME, who has 
worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 32 years. He has two 
children with type 1 diabetes, and with the soaring costs of insulin, 
he was beginning to worry about how he would be able to afford insulin 
for his children. He was concerned that a prolonged shutdown would have 
an adverse impact on his insurance coverage.
  The shutdown has also hurt Americans' access to Federal Agencies and 
threatened housing assistance for low-income families, our seniors, and 
people with disabilities. It has harmed small businesses that have 
contracts with Federal Agencies for certain services but that have not 
been getting paid. Thus, their employees have been at risk of being 
laid off.
  That is why I voted twice this week to end the shutdown and reopen 
the government. Although neither proposal received enough votes to 
pass, we saw glimmers of hope that have produced results. I note that 
after the failed votes, a bipartisan group of 16 Senators came to the 
floor, and each one of us indicated a willingness to compromise.
  I am pleased that today there is real progress. The President and 
Senate Republicans and Democrats have come together and agreed to 
reopen government until February 15, while negotiations on border 
security issues continue. That is so important. As the Presiding 
Officer is chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department 
of Homeland Security, I know she will be playing a key role in this 
  Let each of us on the Democratic side of the aisle, on the Republican 
side of the aisle, and in the administration pledge that we will 
negotiate in good faith and work to hammer out a compromise on border 
security so we will not face the same situation again on February 15.
  I, for one, will keep working with my colleagues and with the White 
House to ensure that hundreds of thousands of hard-working, patriotic 
public servants will stay on the job; that this will not just be a 
temporary reprieve that will allow backpay to be made to them as early 
as the beginning of next week but rather that it will lead to a 
permanent solution so we can reopen government beyond February 15 and 
through the end of the fiscal year--that is, until September 30--and so 
that in the future, we can avoid ever resorting to the shutdown of 
government again. It is never good policy.
  Let us work together over these next 3 weeks to come up with a 
compromise on border security, and let us show the American people that 
we can govern effectively.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. Madam President, obviously, this is a happy and positive 
day not only for Federal employees but for the American people as we 
reopen the government, but we should also indicate there is something 
absolutely pathetic about what has happened.
  Let us not forget for a second that 5 weeks ago, the U.S. Senate 
unanimously--every Republican, every Democrat--voted for essentially 
the same legislation that will likely pass today and that 5 weeks ago 
we voted to keep the government open. Then President Trump responded to 
FOX television and other rightwing outlets and announced that he would 
shut down the government unless he got his wall.
  For 5 weeks, think of the suffering, of the uncertainty, of the pain 
that hundreds of thousands of Federal workers have been forced to 
experience--workers who have worried about whether they will be able to 
pay their mortgages, whether they will be able to feed their kids, 
whether they will be able to go to the doctor when they get sick, 
worried about what kind of damage will have been done to their credit 
ratings. That is a result of Trump's shutdown. If my ears heard 
correctly--and I think they did--Trump, even today, just a few minutes 
ago, announced that he is prepared to shut down the government again 
unless he gets his way.
  I think the time is long overdue for the American people to tell this 
President that he is not a dictator, that he is not a King, that he is 
not the despotic ruler of Saudi Arabia, that he is not his 
authoritarian friend Vladimir Putin of Russia. He is the President of 
United States, and he cannot and must not continue to threaten to shut 
down this government and hold hundreds of thousands of Federal workers 

  While I am delighted that the government is going to be reopened and 
delighted that Federal employees will get their backpay, I remain 
concerned about the over 1 million contract employees--often folks who 
work for low wages--who not only have lost pay but, at this point at 
least, are not protected by any legislation to make sure they get their 
backpay. That is something I hope we can address.
  The truth is that despite what the President tells us, there is 
nobody in the Senate or in the House who is not concerned about border 
security. Some of us believe that spending, as a downpayment, $5.7 
billion on a wall, with

[[Page S673]]

many billions more to come, is not an effective use of tax dollars when 
we talk about border security. There are better ways to do it and more 
cost-effective ways to do it.
  There is no debate that border security is an important issue, but 
one of the things that concerns me very much--and I say this to the 
Presiding Officer, who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and 
Pensions Committee--is that border security and a wall are not the only 
issues facing the American people. There are 30 million Americans who 
have no health insurance, and many more who are underinsured. By far, 
we pay the highest cost for prescription drugs of any people on the 
face of the Earth.
  Border security is important, and it must be dealt with, but we also 
have to deal with a dysfunctional healthcare system and, in my view, do 
what every other major country does, which is to guarantee healthcare 
to all people as a right.
  Border security is an important issue, but so is the fact that tens 
of millions of workers in this country are working for starvation 
wages. I was just in South Carolina the other day, and I talked to a 
waitress. She receives $2.25 pay, plus tips. Millions of workers in 
this country are working for starvation wages of $8 or $9 or $10 an 
hour. We have to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
  I am proud that in the House--I expect they will pass a minimum wage 
bill of $15 an hour, and when that bill comes to the Senate, I hope we 
can do the same.
  Border security is an important issue, but so is the fact that the 
scientific community tells us we have a very short window of 
opportunity to address the global crisis of climate change. What the 
scientists have told us is that if we do not boldly reduce carbon 
emissions over the next 12 years by transforming our energy system away 
from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, this 
country--and, in fact, countries all over the world--will suffer 
irreparable damage from climate change.
  We have to address the crisis of climate change. Border security is 
important. We have to deal with it, but we also have to deal with 
climate change.
  We have to deal with a broken criminal justice system, which, today, 
creates a situation where, in America, we have more people in jail than 
any other country on Earth.
  Obviously, if we have learned anything in recent weeks, we have to 
deal with an immigration system that everybody acknowledges does not 
work, and we have to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
  My point is that I hope very much we will not continue to be held 
hostage by this President, who, once again, just an hour ago, has 
threatened another government shutdown in 3 weeks if he doesn't get his 
way. I hope very much that there will be serious discussions on border 
security--a very important issue.
  President Trump, stop holding the American people hostage. Stop 
threatening to shut down the government. Stop telling hundreds of 
thousands of Federal employees that they have to come to work when they 
will not get paid. Stop denying or threatening to deny the American 
people access to the vital services that they need.
  Today is a good day in the sense that I hope and expect that the 
government will be reopened, but how sad it is that after all of the 
suffering and all of the uncertainty our Federal employees have faced, 
we are back to exactly where we were 5 weeks ago when this body voted 
unanimously--every Republican and every Democrat--to keep the 
government open.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Alexander). The Senator from Alaska.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I think it is good that we are standing 
here on the Senate floor and acknowledging the news the President has 
just announced--that the government will reopen as early as today and 
that those good, dedicated, and hard-working Federal employees who have 
either been furloughed or who have been working without pay for 35 days 
now will be able to get back to work and will be able to receive just 
compensation for their work. This is important news. This is good news. 
This is long-awaited news.
  In fairness, this never should have happened. I concur with my 
colleague from Maine that there is never a good reason to have a 
government shutdown in the first place. We have demonstrated that we 
can do it, but it sure isn't something that should be done.
  I think the men and women who have been so directly and immediately 
impacted are not only relieved this afternoon, but they are saying: For 
heaven's sake, Congress, make sure you don't put us through this again.
  Count me in that camp of working to make sure we don't put these men 
and women and their families through this again.
  I have been holding Skype sessions with the spouses of our active 
Coast Guard in Alaska. Last evening, I had an opportunity to connect 
with the spouses from Sitka. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to hear a 
young wife, who has a baby who is now less than 1 year old, and her 
husband, who has been out at sea for 5 months--he has just come home--
relay the conversation of the two of them crying in bed as they are 
discussing whether she should leave Sitka with their baby to go back 
and live with either his parents or her parents because they cannot 
afford to stay in the Coast Guard community that they are in.
  I am scheduled to have yet another Skype session with the spouses of 
our Coast Guard men and women from Cordova and Petersburg just 40 
minutes from now. I think it is going to be a much better conversation 
with them than with the spouses from Sitka yesterday because we will be 
able to share the good news.
  It was interesting to see, as I have visited with them and have heard 
their very direct stories, that they are pretty selfless. They are 
pretty selfless in saying: As hard as this is on us and as much as we 
want to be paid, we want to make sure that others who serve as public 
servants--our Federal employees, whether they are air traffic 
controllers, whether they are FAA, whether they are TSA, whether they 
are NOAA, whether they are NIMS--will also get paid because they, too, 
are our friends and our neighbors, and they, too, are hurting. Again, 
we need to make sure we are doing right by all of those who serve our 
country, who serve all of us through the good work they do through the 
  This has been a harsh and a difficult time, and it has been 
particularly painful for me, coming from a State where we are feeling 
the direct impacts of this partial shutdown, perhaps more so than any 
other State out there. I am told that, per capita, there are more 
Federal employees in Alaska who are directly impacted by this partial 
shutdown than in any other State, so I hear the urgency. It is not just 
from our Coast Guard men and women; again, it is from so many Agencies 
that have a presence.
  I got a readout just yesterday from those in the fishing industry who 
are concerned that because permits can't get issued, because comments 
can't be published in the Federal Register, the impact to their 
fisheries and being able to move forward with the black cod fishery or 
to move forward with the pot cod--they are not going to be able to do 
it. So today's news allows everyone to breathe a sigh of relief. But I 
don't want them--whether they are fishermen or whether they are that 
Coast Guard wife--thinking, am I going to be able to breathe now for 
only 3 weeks? What happens after that?
  We owe it not only to our Federal workers, but we also owe it to all 
of America to take the anxiety out of this process.
  I have supported my colleague the Senator from Ohio in his 
legislation that would permanently end government shutdowns. As an 
appropriator, I am not convinced, the way it is drafted, that it is 
something I am entirely good with, but I want us to take this off the 
table. In fact, I believe it was the Presiding Officer who used the 
terminology that a shutdown is like the chemical warfare agent when it 
comes to political weapons.
  At the end of the day, these are people's lives we are dealing with. 
These are people's lives we are messing with when we say that we are 
going to shut down the government for this period of time while we try 
to advance priorities. We cannot mess with people's lives this way.
  We have our work cut out for us, and I believe we will rise to this 

[[Page S674]]

We must rise to this occasion. I look forward to doing that.
  I thank the President for his announcement today. I thank him for 
giving us the 3 weeks that we requested. I thank the majority leader 
and the minority leader for coming together to help advance this.
  It is going to take all of us--it is going to take the President; it 
is going to take the leadership--working together.
  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to my 
continuing role in this, but know that we owe it to the country. We owe 
it to the country to get this right and get it right quickly.
  This is a good start today, and I look forward to working with my 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I was just listening and paying close 
attention to my colleague from Alaska describing the uselessness and 
the misery march of a government shutdown, particularly one that has 
lasted longer than any one that has occurred over the history of this 
country. I couldn't agree more, and I associate myself with her 
comments, having had many conversations, as many of us have, with our 
TSA agents and with our Coast Guard--yes, West Virginia has a Coast 
Guard presence; I would like to emphasize that--with our prison guards 
and others who have had just foisted upon them, through no fault of 
their own, some very difficult decisions and sleepless nights, I am 
  So while we want to celebrate, there is really little cause to 
celebrate. I think it is more of a breath of fresh air or a deep sigh 
of relief. Probably, in the minds of the veterans whom I was with at 
the Martinsburg Medical Center this morning, it is a deep breath and: 
Well, no kidding. Let's get back to the business of governing and 
making decisions and making good decisions for the country.
  I chair the Subcommittee on Homeland Security in the Senate as part 
of the Appropriations Committee. I am very pleased that the President 
has made this announcement that our leaders, both Senator McConnell and 
Senator Schumer, have come together with a commonsense, breathable 
solution to give us some space to work through what we call here 
regular order. For people listening who don't understand what that is, 
it is what we should be doing every day, where I sit down as the chair 
of the committee, with Senator Tester from Montana, who is the ranking 
member on the committee, and other members of the committee, and we 
work things out. I want this, and he wants this. Well, maybe pick in 
the middle, or maybe I will give you this if you give me that.
  So I look forward, with the bold leadership of Senator Shelby and 
Senator Leahy, as chair and ranking member of the full committee, and 
the leadership, certainly, of our leaders, with the President, to 
working out a good solution here.
  I firmly believe that border security is important. That is reflected 
in the bill we passed out of our subcommittee that the Chair and the 
Senator from Tennessee both voted on in the full committee. We had 10 
Democrats who voted for that bill, which had border security, a 
pedestrian fence, wall, technology, and the polar security cutter for 
our Coast Guard, which is something very important to Alaska and the 
Arctic and to us as Americans for our safety, and a lot of very 
reflective priorities in there for the rest of the country.
  We can't lose sight that homeland security is more than about one 
structure or the one placement of a structure. It is about a full-out 
array of ways of looking at protecting our country internally, in our 
transportation sector, in our energy sectors, and in others.
  While it sounds like a steep mountain, I embrace this. I embrace the 
ability to play a role and to find a reasonable solution, and we have 
been granted until February 15 to work this out. With that, I have 
rolled up my sleeves. I am getting ready to go to work with many, many 
others here in this body and across the way and at the White House.
  To the American people, I agree that shutdowns are useless. They are 
painful. Nobody wins. The big discussion is, Who is winning here? It is 
pretty clear the American people aren't winning, and in the end, I 
don't think anybody is winning.
  With that, I yield my time, and look forward to getting to work and 
to finding the right solution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Murkowski). The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I am glad the Senator from West 
Virginia is on the floor because if someone were to ask where do we go 
from here, her work is the best example of that.
  Let's stop and think about this just a minute. The issue is whether 
we should include in a plan for border security some physical barrier. 
That is the issue. How do you resolve that issue? That is what we do.
  I remember, I went to see Johnny Cash when I was Governor of 
Tennessee, and I didn't quite know what to say to him so I said: How 
many nights are you on the road?
  He said: Oh, about 200.
  I said: Why do you do that?
  He looked at me and said: That is what I do.
  This is what we do. Our job is not to take a position or to make a 
speech. We could do that at home. We could get a radio program or a 
television show. No one might watch it, but we could get one. It takes 
very little courage and very little skill to take a position or make a 
speech, but what the Senator from West Virginia has shown that she is 
able to do is to take issues of border security and do what we are 
supposed to do, which is to put different views together and get a 
  Now, this wasn't that long ago, what she just described. It was just 
last summer that the full Appropriations Committee of the Senate, which 
is about a third of all of us--almost equally divided, Republicans and 
Democrats--considered President Trump's budget request for border 
security. It included a request that included physical barriers--a 
  What was the result? If I have my numbers right, I believe the 
committee recommended about $5.7 billion for border security, including 
$1.6 billion for a physical barrier, which is a wall. At least ten 
Democrats voted for that. You didn't read about that in the afternoon 
news as a big problem because we considered what a comprehensive border 
security plan would be for our southern border under the leadership of 
the Senator from West Virginia, and she responded to the President's 
  He is, after all, the President. I have read the Constitution. He 
does have to sign the bill for it to become a law. So we respected the 
President's request, considered it, and voted for it. That is where we 
were on the Senate floor as late as last summer.
  Then the President came along more recently and said: We have a 
crisis on the southern border. We need more money for border security, 
and part of that money ought to include physical barriers.
  That should surprise no one. The last four Presidents have said the 
same thing--President Obama, President Clinton, President George W. 
Bush, and President George H.W. Bush. We think they were pretty 
effective Presidents. They all asked for money to build physical 
barriers on the southern border of the United States--it is 1,954 miles 
long----those four Presidents who came before President Trump. Those 
Presidents asked for and Congress approved--Democrats and Republicans--
654 miles of wall along the southern border.
  This issue has gotten blown way out of proportion. As the President 
just said a few moments ago, he is not asking for a wall from sea to 
shining sea, and what this Congress has shown, under four Presidents of 
the United States, and more recently under the leadership of the 
Senator from West Virginia, is that we can take a President's request--
either a Republican President or a Democratic President, in the case of 
Clinton and Obama--for border security and come up with a comprehensive 
recommendation that attracts the bipartisan support of U.S. Senators 
and make it a law, and that is what we should do in the next 3 weeks.
  Boy Scouts shouldn't get a merit badge for telling the truth, and 
U.S. Senators and Presidents shouldn't get a merit badge for keeping 
the government open. That is what we are supposed to do. But it is good 
that it is

[[Page S675]]

open, and it is important for the people to know that we know what to 
do with it. We know what to do with it because we do it all the time.
  There are two things wrong with the last few weeks. One is that the 
government was shut down. As the Senator from Alaska said, as the 
Senator from West Virginia said, and as I have heard almost every 
Senator say on both sides of the aisle, we should never ever shut down 
the government. Shutting down the government should be as off limits in 
budget negotiations as chemical warfare is in real warfare. I should 
not be able to say to the Senator from Alaska: If I don't get my way, I 
am going to shut the government down, whether it is on Planned 
Parenthood or military spending or a road in Alaska or a road in 
Tennessee or a coal mine in West Virginia. We have our strong opinions, 
but we don't say we are going to take our football and go home. We 
should say: We were elected to make the government work for taxpayers, 
not to shut it down, and we know how to do that. We know how to do 
  The first thing that was wrong with the last few weeks is we accepted 
the idea that shutting down the government is an acceptable bargaining 
chip in a budget negotiation, and it should never ever be, and we 
should resolve that that should never ever happen. If this President or 
the next President or this Speaker of the House or the next the Speaker 
of the House tries to do it, we should in a bipartisan way say: No, you 
can have your strong view, but we are not going along with your threat 
to shut the government down in order to get your policy goals.
  The second thing that was wrong with it was that we didn't give the 
job to the people whose job it is to work these things out. For 
example, the Senator from West Virginia showed in her leadership of the 
Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that she knows how, with 
her committee members, to work out differences of opinion on border 
  Instead, we were having a high decibel debate back and forth between 
the President and the Speaker of the House. He would say one thing on 
TV, and she would come out of her office and refute it in 5 minutes. 
That is not the way you get an agreement. That is not the way we ever 
get an agreement. They should leave that to what we call the regular 
order and allow us to have our discussions.

  We began to make progress yesterday when we did something that we 
know how to do, which is to vote. The second thing that happened is the 
Republican leader, Senator McConnell, and the Democratic leader, 
Senator Schumer, walked back to Senator McConnell's office and they 
began to talk. And here we are, less than 24 hours later, with 
apparently a result. I commend Senator McConnell and I commend Senator 
Schumer for taking this issue, going back in the room and talking about 
it, and getting the Senate back to the business of doing what it is 
supposed to do.
  I see other Senators on the floor, and I want them to have a chance 
to speak. I thank the Senator from Alaska, who has kindly presided when 
I was supposed to be so I would be allowed to speak.
  I am glad the President did today what he said he would do. The 
government should be open, and we should be solving the problem. As I 
said, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts should not get merit badges for 
telling the truth, and Senators and Presidents shouldn't get it for 
keeping the government open. But it is good that it is open, and now 
there is a chance for us to work together.
  The Senator from West Virginia has been one of the leaders in the 
last few days, along with the Senators from Alaska and West Virginia, 
saying: Let's open the government. Let's go to work, and let's take the 
proposal for comprehensive border security and make a result.
  It is not that unusual for the President--any President--in the 
middle of a year to say: We have an unusual need. The country needs 
more money. It might be a disaster. It might be a hurricane. It might 
be a flood. It might be a war. It might be a crisis on the southern 
border. Let's not get hung up on this wall talk. Let's remember that 
the previous four Presidents asked for and we approved the building of 
654 miles along the 1,954-mile southern border of the United States. 
That is Democrats and Republicans over 20 years.
  Let's not forget that last summer, under the leadership of the 
Senator from West Virginia, the Senate Appropriations Committee 
considered the President's request and approved $5.7 billion for border 
security, including $1.6 billion for a physical barrier. Let's have the 
same sort of discussion again in the next 3 weeks. Let's let the 
Senators and the House Members, whose job it is to do it, do it.
  I am glad to see this happen. I am glad that when I go back to 
Tennessee or fly out from Tennessee, I am not walking through the TSA 
and seeing one of 54,000 TSA workers who have been working without 
pay--in our State, cheerfully, never complaining, never saying an angry 
word to me. One did say he could use some money because he wasn't 
getting his check, and I appreciated that.
  I am glad that is over. It shouldn't happen again. Let's get back to 
work. I thank the Senators on the floor--all three of them--from 
Alaska, Virginia, and West Virginia, for their leadership in getting us 
where we are today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Alexander). The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, let me first of all echo the comments of 
my friend, the Senator from Tennessee. We will never fully know what 
was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but I do believe 
that under the leadership of the Senator from Alaska 16 of us came to 
the floor yesterday and made these comments, with Senators on the 
Republican side saying: Please, let's reopen the government, and 
Senators on the Democratic side, like myself, saying: I am open to 
increasing the dollar amount on border security.
  After the Presiding Officer's comments, I rise to welcome the news 
that sanity has prevailed--at least temporarily. After 35 painful days, 
we are finally poised to reopen the government and pay our hard-working 
Federal employees. It is not a moment too soon because under normal 
circumstances, today is supposed to be a Federal payday, but this 
morning, thousands of Federal employees went to work one more day 
knowing full well they would not be getting the paychecks they earned. 
Thousands more have been furloughed, waiting for the President and my 
colleagues to come to their senses to let us reopen the government.
  For the last 35 days, 800,000 Federal workers have been held hostage 
through no fault of their own. Frankly, that is just scratching the 
surface of this destructive shutdown. That number of 800,000 doesn't 
include the hundreds of thousands of Federal contractors who are not 
getting paid.
  I know I have talked to my friend the Senator from Alaska and 
appealed to the common sense and good sense of the Presiding Officer. 
We have some legislation that may not be perfect but would look at 
trying to make at least partially whole those low-paid Federal 
contractors--folks under $50,000--who, if we don't find a way to take 
care of them, will come out of this--more than 1 month of their annual 
salary--with nothing at all to show for it.
  We also know--and the Senator from Alaska raised this issue with me--
that even if we were to move toward low-salaried contractors, the 
solution that we announced today and that hopefully will be signed 
later today really will do nothing to take care of the small businesses 
whose customers were furloughed or working without pay.
  I am thinking about the Senator from Alaska, who had the powerful 
picture on the floor of the brewery in Kodiak, AK. I copied her efforts 
and went to Port City Brewery in Alexandria--I believe it was 
yesterday--where not only were they down dramatically in terms of 
customers, but they had five new brews they were trying to bring to 
market, and none of those were approved.
  The truth is, the damage to those folks in the private sector is 
done, and I am not sure there is much we can do to rectify it. 
Candidly, thinking about here locally, there is no way we can undo the 
harm to the food truck owners--some have had their food trucks 
repossessed--who sit outside the Smithsonian waiting for the tourists 
to come. Those losses are permanent, as

[[Page S676]]

they are in my State and the Presiding Officer's State for those 
restaurants and campgrounds that are outside the Great Smoky Mountains 
or outside the Shenandoah Valley. As a matter of fact, there is no way 
we are going to be able to make whole the contractor who told me he was 
closing his doors and laying off 72 workers because he just couldn't 
meet the payroll during the shutdown.
  Frankly, it is too late for the President or any of us to help those 
folks. The only thing we can do now is to end the shutdown, get the 
Federal workers and contractors back to work, and try our darnedest to 
make sure this never happens again.
  We also need to make sure those folks get backpay. Again, I would 
especially urge that we take a hard look at making sure those low-wage 
contractors, who are suffering so badly right now, get an opportunity 
to get their backpay as well. I am cosponsoring legislation sponsored 
by the Senator from Minnesota, and I hope all my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle will look at that legislation.
  By reopening the government temporarily, we now finally have the 
opportunity to take a timeout and give both parties the space to 
negotiate a compromise. We are clearly not there yet, but there is room 
for common ground.
  Over the weekend, the President proposed additional funding for 
screening vehicles and cargo coming across the border at points of 
entry. The DEA says this is how the majority of illegal drugs come into 
our country. It is something we can work on together. If the White 
House wants to seriously discuss providing real, long-term security for 
Dreamers and TPS recipients, let's have that conversation as well. I 
think we can do it, but it will take time. In the meantime, let's make 
sure the President signs today the legislation that will allow our 
Federal employees and contractors to get back to work.
  Before I close, I want to take a moment for self-reflection on what 
has happened over the last 35 days.
  In many ways, we are right back to where we were in December, right 
back to where we were when this body nearly unanimously passed 
legislation that would have prevented this stupid crisis. For 35 days, 
this body has refused to fill its role as a part and coequal branch of 
government. We can't let that happen again.
  I hope the White House will take some lessons from this crisis as 
well. They can start by realizing that no one wins a shutdown. If you 
shut down the government, the only thing we know for a fact is that the 
American people lose. I hope the President will also realize that you 
need to empower those around you to help make a deal. The Vice 
President came to the Senate with a deal in mid-December. I don't think 
he even left Capitol Hill before the President basically took back the 
Vice President's deal. Senator Graham proposed almost exactly this deal 
that we came to 3 weeks ago, but unfortunately, again, the President 
cut off his good friend at that point.

  It is my hope that in the coming weeks, we can have a good-faith 
negotiation where both sides have an opportunity to come out ahead. 
Imagine that--a win-win proposition coming out of the Halls of 
Congress. But to do that, we have to have enough of the stunts and the 
political tit-for-tat that we have seen over the past few weeks.
  In a moment of optimism, if there is anything good that can come from 
this shutdown, let's make it the last time that a President or a 
Congress uses shutting down the government as a negotiating tactic.
  I have legislation, and it took some hard work to come up with the 
acronym, but the legislation is called the Stop STUPIDITY Act. That 
will make sure that Congress and the White House are the only ones who 
suffer when the Congress and the White House can't come to a funding 
agreement. Maybe the particulars of that legislation can change, or 
maybe even responsible Members like the Presiding Officer would think 
we don't need to put into law something called the Stop the STUPIDITY 
Act, so I am open to changing the name. But the final language in any 
deal that comes out 3 weeks from now should put strong provisions and 
strong penalties in place to prevent this tactic from being used by 
either party or any White House or Congress in the future.
  In my mind, perhaps the best and easiest way to do that would be--and 
I know there is Republican legislation on this--to continue to fund 
government. In my idea, it would say that the only people who would 
actually be the victims of a shutdown going forward would be the 
Congress and our staff and the White House and its staff. A little bit 
of common sense tells me that we wouldn't be here 35 days into this 
shutdown if all our staff were experiencing the same kind of shortfall 
and economic distress that 800,000 of our fellow Federal workers 
  The truth is, our Federal workers need to get those paychecks. The 
truth is, our country can't afford another self-inflicted disaster. 
Let's go ahead and get that CR passed. Let's go ahead and sit down and 
negotiate in good faith on border security. Most importantly, let's 
make sure we are never back in this circumstance again.
  With that, Mr. President, 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.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, no matter how intractable something might 
seem, the Senate is the Senate, and we should be the conscience of the 
Nation, and we can work things out.
  One of my closest friends in this body is the distinguished senior 
Senator from Alabama, Mr. Shelby. He and I were talking just a couple 
of minutes ago. We know that we can get these things done. The Senate 
can be the conscience of the Nation. There are 100 men and women of 
both parties who are here because they love this country, and they want 
it to be better.
  Now let's just sit down and do our work. Senator Shelby and I got 
every single appropriations bill last year through our committee, 
virtually unanimously in most cases. It worked. We proved it could 
work. It hadn't been done for years. We proved it could be done.
  We did not do it with press conferences. We did not do it with 
gimmicks. We did not do it with histrionics. We did it with hard work, 
sometimes late into the night.
  I say that in light of what we have seen during the Trump shutdown. 
For 35 days, President Trump robbed hundreds of thousands of American 
families of their paychecks and forced dedicated public servants--
professionals--to turn to food banks and unemployment benefits to feed 
and support their families.
  For 35 days, President Trump denied millions of taxpaying Americans 
access to public services. For 35 days, President Trump inflicted pain 
on the American people.
  Anyone who has taken the time for the briefing knows it has 
compromised our national security. And for what?
  The rest of the world looks at us and sees us as being weak. Our 
enemies have been able to exploit the fact that we have had this 
shutdown. And for what?
  All of this pain and suffering is going to end now, right where it 
  On December 19 of last year, the Senate passed a bill by voice vote 
to fund the government to February 8. Virtually every Republican and 
every Democrat supported it, and it is nearly what the President has 
proposed today. We in the Senate did that back on December 19. The 
President was going to support it. He was then criticized by some in 
the conservative media, and he thought he had to break his word and 
precipitate this national crisis.
  Dozens of Vermonters have contacted my office to share the pain the 
Trump shutdown inflicted on their lives.
  Northfield, VT, is one of our prettiest towns. It is not far from 
where I was born. A number of my ancestors settled in that area.
  A Vermont family there found they could not complete their U.S. 
Department of Agriculture 502 direct home loan, and that closed the 
door on the American dream of owning a home, something so many 
Vermonters dream of.
  A small business owner in Brattleboro, who employs Vermonters

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and shows entrepreneurship is alive and well in our small State, wrote 
my office. What happened? He could not get the Department of 
Agriculture--because they were not there--to approve the packaging on 
their new products, and it crippled their growth in a competitive 
  A Vermonter in the Coast Guard was worried about how he and his 
shipmates would make ends meet.
  These are real people who have suffered real consequences, and for 
what? For what?
  The shutdown was the American crisis. It was our national emergency--
not the southern border, where apprehensions have dropped 75 percent 
since 2000, and the majority of the people apprehended at our borders 
today are families--women and children feeling violence in their own 
  In this great country, which we are all proud to serve, the Trump 
shutdown should never have happened, and it never should have dragged 
on for 35 days.
  I hope the President is learning that Congress is a coequal branch of 
government. The American people are not pawns to be played with for 
political gain.
  I told Chairman Shelby that I will continue my bipartisan work with 
him to make responsible investments in the American people and border 
security, and I pray that President Trump does not repeat this national 
  I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be a U.S. Senator in a 
body that should be the conscience of the Nation. But I see how people 
around the world are laughing at our country when the most powerful--
the most powerful--Nation on Earth is being crippled because of a whim 
and a tweet. That is not the America I know and love. We are a great 
country. Only we can make it less great.
  The shutdown has damaged us. It has damaged us internally. It has 
damaged our security. It has damaged our reputation around the rest of 
the world.
  So I hope we will promptly vote to reopen the government and end this 
national nightmare. I am prepared to work. As dean of the Senate, as 
Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I am willing to work 
with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to make sure this 
foolish escapade doesn't happen again.
  I see other Senators on the floor.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. President, today is a bittersweet day. I am assuming 
we are going to vote along with this deal--as I am--to reopen this 
government, to end the 35-day-old hostage crisis, and that truly is the 
best way to describe it.
  It is a bittersweet day. It is sweet because our dedicated and 
committed Federal workers and contractors will be going back to work. 
It is bitter because, as I think everyone in this body who has spoken 
today has said, it should never have happened. I believe we have an 
obligation to those folks to do a better job, to make it even sweeter.
  Last week, Congress passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act 
of 2019, which would require that all impacted Federal employees 
receive compensation for wages lost during the government shutdown--35 
days' worth of government wages paid back.
  While that is an important step, the shutdown has forced many of our 
Federal workers to incur additional costs associated with loans, late 
bill payments, and other effects of their missing paychecks--paychecks 
they depended on for their daily living.
  That is why today, along with Senators Baldwin, Cardin, Hirono, Van 
Hollen, Kaine, Klobuchar, Shaheen, Warner, and Wyden, I have introduced 
the Back Pay Fairness Act. If the Federal Government can charge you 
interest for being late on your taxes, then we should be paying 
interest to those employees from whom we have borrowed hard-earned 
dollars over the last 35 days. That is only fair.
  I am requesting in this bill that all interest be paid to the Federal 
workers whose paychecks were withheld. The more than 5,500 Federal 
workers in Alabama did not ask for this shutdown and should not be 
punished for it. It is only fair that the government pay them back with 
interest for putting them out of work indefinitely or forcing them to 
work without pay.
  Federal law often recognizes the importance of timely payments when 
it benefits the Federal Government. When it is the government's money, 
we demand that people pay on time. For example, if you don't pay your 
taxes on time, you can count on a notice letter from the Internal 
Revenue Service--at least when they are open--demanding that you pay 
interest, interest for the lateness of your payments. It doesn't matter 
when it is. If you go past a certain date, they tack on a penalty on 
top of that--not just interest.
  Well, when the Federal Government owes its Federal workers money, it 
is only reasonable, responsible, and fair that interest accrues as 
well. The interest rate in this legislation would be equivalent to the 
rate that Federal Agencies must pay vendors when they are late. The 
rate, known as the Treasury prompt payment rate, is currently 3.625 
  Again, it is only fair. As David Cox, the American Federation of 
Government Employees' National President said:

       Federal workers are experiencing serious financial hardship 
     from the shutdown. When it ends, employees will not only have 
     to pay more than a month's worth of overdue bills, they will 
     also have to pay late fees and penalties, overdraft fees and 
     interest charges.

  The AFGE supports the Back Pay Fairness Act with interest. Again, it 
is only the right thing to do.
  This shutdown, which has lasted for 35 days, could have been avoided. 
The deal we got today is going to reopen the government through 
February 15, and it will go to a conference. We are going to do what 
the Presiding Officer said to do the other day: Do what we do. I heard 
his remarks a few minutes ago, and I absolutely agree with them.
  This government functions best when this body does what the Founders 
of the Constitution said we should do: Go to regular order; go to 
  As Senator Bennet said on the floor yesterday, our Founders 
contemplated the fact that we are going to have disagreements. That is 
why we have 100 people here. That is why there are 435. That is why 
there are nine members of the Supreme Court. We are going to have 
disagreements, but we don't have to shut down the government over those 
disagreements, especially when they are political disagreements and not 
truly substantive disagreements.
  This shutdown has had many costs, some that we will never be able to 
quantify. Some of the losses from the President's misguided shutdown we 
just can't put a cost on, and it is unfortunate that a while back, back 
in December, the President of the United States said that he wanted to 
shut down this government; he would own this shutdown.
  It is unfortunate that we had 35 days for which he really didn't take 
that responsibility, and he still didn't do it today. But the fact is, 
he could have avoided it.
  We have more than a million contractors. Senator Warner and others 
were talking about the contractors that have millions of dollars--tens 
of millions of dollars--of contracts with the Federal Government, many 
of those in my State of Alabama.
  I was in Huntsville, AL, today for the groundbreaking of a Blue 
Origin plant that is going to build the engines for some of the new, 
manned spacecraft that the United States will send into orbit. At a 
time when we were shutting down the U.S. Government, China was putting 
a spacecraft on the dark side of the Moon. We should be so embarrassed 
about that. NASA is such an important part of Alabama and our history 
in this country for what we can accomplish and for what we can do that 
is good--the leaders in the country--and while we were shut down and 
those poor NASA employees laid off and the contractors dealing with 
NASA, China--China--was jumping ahead.
  Well, I was so proud today when we started and we broke ground, 
because we are going to reclaim that right. We are going to get this 
government open, and we are going to reclaim America's role in space 
and technology and the human imagination that will take us beyond our 
borders here, beyond where we are.
  I visited a number of folks in Huntsville this past weekend and heard 
firsthand their stories of families, and it was heartbreaking. Members 
of our Coast Guard missed paychecks. For the first time in our Nation's 

[[Page S678]]

members of our Armed Forces were not paid due to a government shutdown. 
The Coast Guard has boats next to the Navy in places all around the 
world. The Coast Guard defends this country just like the Army, the 
Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Merchant Marines; yet they didn't 
get paid. They also do other work. They do wonderful work in disaster 
relief. They do wonderful work around the country in rescue operations.
  Members of the Coast Guard missed their paychecks, and I talked to 
members of the Coast Guard to hear their stories about how their men 
and women were suffering. We should be ashamed of that.
  It is not just the Coast Guard. Yesterday I took five dozen doughnuts 
to the TSA workers at the airport in Birmingham. You would have thought 
it was Christmas, they were so happy. In airports yesterday and today, 
those TSA agents say: Thank you for doing what you can do. We are here. 
We are working. That is why they deserve not only their paychecks, but 
they deserve it with interest.

  The S&P estimated the economic cost of this shutdown was $7.1 
billion. We have been arguing over 5.7, and it has already cost this 
country 7.1. Bloomberg said businesses with contractors tied to the 
Federal Government would lose a cumulative $200 million a day. The 
chamber of commerce says small government contractors have lost more 
than $2.3 billion in revenue so far. The administration has admitted 
economic growth this quarter will likely be zero because of the 
  Payments to farmers hurt by the President's tariffs were delayed 
because the Department of Agriculture was closed. Now think about that. 
Farmers in Alabama and elsewhere got a double whammy. They got hurt 
because of the tariffs and the fact that China started retaliating and 
dried up their markets, and soybean farmers couldn't send their crops 
anywhere. So the President, in something I supported, even though it 
was a bandaid, decided they would give these farmers $12 billion in 
relief. Farmers don't like bailouts. These are hard-working, 
conservative folks who don't like bailouts. They don't want handouts; 
they wanted their markets back. Then, with this shutdown, half of that 
money couldn't be disbursed. At a time when those farmers were trying 
to get their loans in order and were trying to get ready for spring 
planting, they couldn't get any money from the Department of 
Agriculture. That is shameful. That is shameful.
  The tariff exclusion request for businesses has not been processed, 
all the while our Commerce Secretary was saying he just couldn't 
understand why people had to go to food banks. He should be ashamed. We 
should all be ashamed that a representative of the U.S. Government 
would say such a thing, when it was the administration that caused the 
  When the economy slows and there is less money to spend in our 
communities, hiring slows or stops and wages can decline, leaving our 
communities even more vulnerable. That is something that hasn't been 
talked about enough here; that is, in the last 35 days, the security of 
the United States, not just on the southern border but the entire 
United States has been at risk because of this government shutdown--
cyber security threats from Russia, China, North Korea, you name it. 
While we may have a crisis on the border--and there are many who might 
dispute that it is a crisis on our southern border as opposed to chaos. 
Everyone understands there is chaos. Everyone understands our border is 
not as secure as it should be. There are things we can do to secure 
that border, and they should be done to secure that border.
  Everybody--there is no one in this body who says they are for open 
borders. Last year, when the President nominated an individual who used 
to work with Customs and Border Patrol to be head of ICE, I asked him, 
in his entire career, has he ever heard of anyone who was in the public 
sector who was for open borders. He said: No, sir. It was an important 
question because we hear so much, and we see so many allegations coming 
from the other side that we are all for open borders. That is not true. 
We want to make sure we have secure borders.
  Let me tell you something, folks. I also want to have a heart. I want 
to make sure the United States is the moral leader of the world. There 
are people coming across, and they are fleeing violence, destruction, 
and their families are being put in danger in their home countries. We 
at least can try to figure out a way to help them; that we don't gas 
children on the border; that we don't separate families and put little 
children in jail; and that we don't charge people $11 for a tube of 
toothpaste in what amounts to a private prison; that we at least can 
recognize that we have an element of humanity about us; that when 
people flee and seek refuge in the United States of America, they do so 
for a reason. It is because we don't have to make this America great 
again. We are great. That is why they are coming here, to get away. We 
have to make sure we understand and recognize that.
  What I want to see is that good-faith effort. What I have said from 
the very beginning is, that good faith the President talked about 
today, I want to make sure--I wanted to open this government in 
December. We are doing today essentially what this body did on December 
19--35 days ago, 37 days ago.
  We voted unanimously to keep this government open and let people talk 
about the border security; let folks talk about whether we have a 
threat of a national security emergency. That is what we do, as Senator 
Alexander said on the floor earlier. I agree with him, and I agree with 
Senator Murkowski and Senator Warner and all those who spoke before me 
whom I heard.
  Senator Alexander said that two things went wrong in December; one, 
we should never have a shutdown as an option. Our Federal workers 
should never be held hostage. Yes, people have said this is a hostage 
crisis because that is what it was. Those poor workers have been held 
hostage, and now we have a threat again. If we don't do something in 3 
weeks, they will do it again. The sad thing is, unlike a hostage crisis 
that you might see on television on the news or on television in TV 
shows, it is the same hostages every time. Every time this government 
shuts down, it is the same hostages who are taken, and we cannot let 
that happen.

  Senator Alexander said the other thing that we didn't do is we didn't 
do what we were supposed to do. We didn't have that regular order. We 
saw all of the political fights play out on TV between this side or the 
other side, and we didn't get back to what this body does best, why I 
came to this body, why I am so proud to be a part of this body, why I 
am so proud to be here with Senator Patrick Leahy, who was in the U.S. 
Senate when I was just a staffer for Senator Heflin. We need to be 
doing those things for the American people and for the people in my 
State. That is what we need to be doing.
  As I listened to the President today, I appreciated the fact that he 
is signing this bill that I think will pass both Houses. I feel 
confident it will. As I listened to him today, I am thinking to myself: 
Mr. President, you talk about good faith, and you want people to have 
good-faith dialogue. They will in this body, but good faith is a two-
way street--a two-way street. It is not just one side or the other, but 
it is a two-way street. I worry sometimes that the President of the 
United States doesn't always do that.
  We saw last year, when we had a bill for $25 billion that he decided 
he didn't like, after he initially said it was one of the areas he 
wanted to do. We saw it in December, when this body came to the floor 
and passed unanimously a measure to keep the government open, that I 
know would not have come to this floor by Senator McConnell had the 
President not indicated he would sign it and changed in 24 hours. So 
good faith, Mr. President, is a two-way street.
  I am willing to do that. I have always said that. I heard a lot of 
people on both sides of this aisle who are ready, willing, and able to 
try to do the things we need to do to secure our borders, but we have 
to have good faith coming out of the administration as well.
  We have to make sure the administration takes care of those families 
who are trying to get away; that we will look to maybe try to provide 
some help to those countries so they can stem the tide of that violence 
and try to do some things to move these asylum seekers along and not 
just build

[[Page S679]]

walls to stop them. Let's be humanitarians as well as security agents. 
We can do that. That is not inconsistent with the American way. That is 
not inconsistent at all.
  I appreciate the time on the floor today. I urge all my colleagues to 
vote for this compromise to open this government back up. Importantly, 
I urge my colleagues and in the House--let's not give these Federal 
workers just their backpay, as we passed before, let's do what is 
right. If we mean what we say about how we appreciate our Federal 
workers, if we mean what we say when we call and say how patriotic they 
are, let's do to them what the government would do otherwise. Let's 
give them the interest on these 35 days of backpay. Then we will truly 
fulfill our obligations as best we can.
  Importantly, let's not let this happen again. For God's sake, do our 
duty. Let's not let this happen again in 3 weeks and go through this 
process once more. Let's get to work. Let's knuckle down. Let's secure 
the borders, but let's also let this crisis within our borders that has 
been created over the last 35 days end forever. Let that crisis go away 
and never come back.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The majority leader is