January 8, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 3 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
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. ____________________