BORDER SECURITY; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 3
(Senate - January 08, 2019)

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[Pages S35-S36]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                            BORDER SECURITY

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, in spite of all of that, some Democrats 
have now threatened to block us from even taking this legislation up 
later today. We would have to ask why. It is because we are 18 days 
into the partial government shutdown caused by Democrats' total 
unwillingness to negotiate with the White House over border security.
  Democrat intransigence has made sure that a quarter of the Federal 
Government has been shut down for more

[[Page S36]]

than 2 weeks--2 weeks. Now they are threatening to shut the Senate down 
too. They have shut down the government for 2 weeks, and now they want 
to shut the Senate down. They are threatening to shut down efforts to 
protect our allies and strengthen our relationship with Israel--
something they all recently claim to support.
  Let's remember what we are talking about. In light of the urgent 
humanitarian and security crisis on our border, the President is 
requesting $5.7 billion for physical barriers and border security. For 
some context, that is just about one-tenth of 1 percent of Federal 
spending--one-tenth of 1 percent--for physical barriers like fences and 
barriers that already exist, which Democrats have previously voted for 
with enthusiasm.
  Back in 2006, then-Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, 
and our colleague, the current Democratic leader, all voted for more 
than $1 billion to construct about 700 miles of physical barriers.
  Then-Senator Obama called it ``badly needed funding for better fences 
and better security . . . that should help stem some of the tide of 
illegal immigration.'' That is what Senator Barack Obama said.
  Senator Schumer later described his vote proudly as ``miles of border 
fence that create a significant barrier to illegal immigration.''
  As recently as 2015, Secretary Clinton boasted: ``I voted numerous 
times . . . to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal 
immigrants from coming in.'' That is what Hillary Clinton said.
  Obviously, that was then, and today the new Speaker of the House is 
trying to argue that a physical barrier is ``immoral''--``immoral.''
  Today, my friend the Democratic leader is proposing to add a Senate 
shutdown to the partial Federal Government shutdown and block even more 
of the people's business, all--all--to avoid more of what he already 
voted for. Maybe the Democratic Party was for secure borders before 
they were against it, maybe they are just making it up as they go 
along, or maybe they are dead set on opposing this particular President 
on any issue, for any reason, just for the sake of opposing him.
  Walls and barriers are not immoral--how silly. Enforcing our laws 
wasn't immoral back in 2006 when then-Senator Clinton, then-Senator 
Obama, and our friend the Democratic leader were proud--proud--to vote 
for physical barriers. The only things that have changed between then 
and now are the political whims and, of course, the occupant of the 
White House.
  This is no newfound, principled objection. It is just political 
spite--a partisan tantrum being prioritized over the public interest. 
For more than 2 weeks, they have indulged in that partisan tantrum 
rather than negotiate in good faith over border security funding--
hardly something that should be a partisan subject in the first place. 
They have put that partisan tantrum ahead of keeping a quarter of the 
government open. Now they are saying their partisan tantrum is more 
urgent than pressing legislation that concerns our alliance with Israel 
and the Syrian civil war.
  I hope that isn't the case. I hope our Democratic colleagues don't 
pile on even more pointless obstruction. I hope they don't block the 
Senate from turning to this important legislation--legislation, by the 
way, they support. We will find out later today.
  We all know what is necessary to move past the funding impasse: a 
negotiated solution that can pass the House, earn 60 votes in the 
Senate, and get the President's signature. That is what it takes to 
make a law.
  As I have stated clearly, the Senate will not waste floor time on 
show votes, messaging votes, or any other proposals that fail to check 
those boxes regarding the funding bills.
  The Democratic leader actually shared that opinion earlier. Here is a 
fairly recent quote from the Democratic leader. He said: ``The 
President must publicly support and say he will sign an agreement 
before it gets a vote in either Chamber.'' That is a fairly recent 
quote.
  I am glad we seem to agree on that--no wasted floor time on 
appropriations bills that fail to clear the President's reasonable 
threshold.
  For the sake of the humanitarian crisis on our border--as the 
President will describe in his address to the Nation this evening--for 
the sake of our national security, and for the sake of all the 
Americans who need all of their Federal Government reopened, I would 
urge our Democratic colleagues to get past these harmful political 
games and get serious about negotiating with the 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. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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