Skip to content

Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Vote To Advance The Bipartisan Border Act On Thursday And Republicans’ Rejection Of Strong Bipartisan Border Security Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the need to pass the bipartisan border security bill that was drafted by both parties and voted down by Senate Republicans in earlier this year. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

For years, our Republican colleagues have insisted that the only real long-term solution to fixing the southern border was for Congress to pass legislation.

We Democrats agree: Congress must act. We need to fix the border and reform immigration to make it fairer and more humane. This week, Republicans will have an opportunity to join us in taking action.

A few moments ago, I filed cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan Border Act, the same bill negotiated three months ago by the bipartisan group of Senators Murphy and Sinema and Lankford.

The Senate will vote on this bipartisan Border bill on Thursday. Last night, the President called both Leader McConnell and Speaker Johnson, and urged them to go forward with our bill. All those who say we need to act on the border will get a chance this week to show they’re serious about fixing the problem.

Unlike H.R. 2, the bipartisan Border Act was written explicitly to win support from both parties, with input – significant input – from both sides. The Border Act is an exercise in legislating; H.R. 2 is not.

When Republicans pushed H.R. 2, it couldn’t even get a single Democratic vote here in the Senate, much less all Senate Republicans for that matter.

That was not a serious bill – but what we are voting on this week is serious. It is the same bipartisan bill both sides negotiated for months last winter. It’s the same bill endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council, a very conservative group, by the Chamber of Commerce, and by the very conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page. By any objective measure it is a strong and realistic and – most importantly – a bipartisan proposal.

If our bipartisan bill was good enough to win support of the union that represents Border Patrol agents, why isn’t it good enough for Senate Republicans? Are Senate Republicans saying they know better than our agents patrolling the border?

I hope that’s not true. I hope our Republican colleagues are ready to join us. I will be clear: we do not expect every Democrat or every Republican to come out in favor of this bill. That’s why, as I have said before, the only way to pass this bill – or any border bill – is with broad bipartisan support.

If you go by what Republicans said over the last few months, you’d think they would leap at an opportunity like the one we have right now.

In the words of Speaker Johnson: “The time to act on [border] is yesterday.”

In the words of my colleague from Texas: “It makes no sense to me for us to do nothing when we might be able to make things better.”

And in the words of my colleague from South Carolina: “To those who think that if President Trump wins…that we can get a better deal, you won’t.” And he added “This moment will pass. Do not let it pass.”

Well, I wholeheartedly agree: we should not let this moment pass. Border legislation is just about the hardest thing that Congress ever wrestles with.

Bipartisan Border bills are rare opportunities here in Congress. That’s precisely what we have in front of us this week. I urge everyone not to let the politics get in the way.