Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor to urge Senators to vote to advance debate on the national security supplemental. Senator Schumer also announced that if Republicans filibuster the national security supplemental including border legislation that they demanded, the Senate will vote on reconsideration of cloture on the motion to proceed to the national security supplemental, including support for Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian aid in Gaza, Indo-Pacific, and more. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Today, Senators face a decision several months in the making. Will Senate Republicans vote to start debate – just a debate – on bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s security, stand with Ukraine, and fix our border – or will they cow to Donald Trump’s orders to kill this bill?
Will the Senate stand up to brutish thugs like Vladimir Putin, and reassure our friends abroad that America will never abandon them in their hour of need?
Will Republicans take yes for an answer and seize the best opportunity – the best opportunity – that Congress has seen in decades to secure our border?
This is the choice Republicans face today: they can either choose what’s good for the country’s national interest, or they can choose what’s good, at least in their minds, for Donald Trump.
I have always believed the Senate works best when we take the bipartisan path. Not everything is perfect in this bill, but I see it as my job to let bipartisanship take hold however possible and this bill reflects that.
But all week long, Senate Republicans have looked more and more like their House counterparts and transformed themselves into the chaos caucus.
Republicans have said they can’t pass Ukraine without border.
Now, they say they say they can’t pass Ukraine with border.
So, today I am giving them a choice. They can show America where they stand. And what they stand for. Which way will it be?
Today I have laid out both options for Republicans to do the right thing. Democrats certainly want to fix the border – it is extremely important, and we have shown our willingness time and time again to take big steps to secure the border – but we will to move forward today with either option.
First, I have scheduled a vote on the supplemental that includes strong bipartisan border reforms that Republicans have demanded for months. Negotiators on both sides worked themselves to the bone putting this border package together. I was heavily involved, I saw the work, the blood, the sweat, the tears that went into it.
Why did we do it? Because that’s what Republicans wanted. They said they can't do Ukraine, can't do Israel, can't do humanitarian aid without border. I made sure negotiators had enough time to do their work. I gave them the space to keep going even when it seemed like a deal was out of reach. Because, again, Democrats want to secure the border because it is extremely important, it is urgent, it can’t wait, we must act and we are ready to move forward on this bill now.
Today, when we vote, it will be clear as day who is serious about fixing the border, and who is not. I urge Republicans to take yes for an answer.
Now, if Republicans block this national security package with border legislation that they demanded, later today I will give them the opportunity to move forward with a package without border reforms. This package will otherwise be largely the same: it will have strong funding for Ukraine, funding for Israel, help for innocent civilians in Gaza, and funding to the Indo-Pacific.
The legislation on the floor today is one of the most important security packages the Senate has considered in a long time, so the onus is on Senate Republicans to finally take yes for an answer.
It would be an embarrassment for our country – and an absolute nightmare for the Republican Party – if they reject national security funding twice in one day. Today is the day for Republicans to do the right thing when it comes to our national security.
Now, it must be said that the 180-degree turn that Republicans have done on border is one of the most stunning things I’ve seen in Congress in a long, long time. The damage Republicans have done this week to their credibility cannot be understated.
After all, how many times have we heard our Republican colleagues give speeches here on the floor about the emergency at the border?
How many times have we heard Republicans say, year after year, that Congress must act? That legislation is the only long term solution? They said that legislation is the way we have to go.
How many times have we seen Republicans take field trips down to border towns like Eagle Pass or Laredo, and take pictures with the fence towering behind them, while bemoaning that the problem at the border is only getting worse?
Well apparently, all that was for show. Apparently, Republicans aren’t actually serious about fixing the border.
Because you cannot – you cannot – claim to be serious about fixing the border while voting against the kind of border package we have before us today.
You cannot claim to truly care about fixing asylum if you’re going to vote against the biggest updates to asylum law in decades.
You cannot claim to care about our border patrol agents while depriving them of the very tools and funding they are asking for. Remember, the union of border patrol agents are very conservative – almost always a pro-Republican group – and they want us to pass this bill.
And why are Republicans doing all of this? Why are they going to kill, in one fell swoop, this agreement that has taken months to piece together?
Two words: Donald Trump.
Donald Trump doesn’t like that the Senate finally reached a real bipartisan border deal, so he has demanded Republicans kill it. Let me say that again because it’s as plain as could be: Donald Trump doesn't like that the Senate finally reached a bipartisan border deal, so he has demanded Republicans kill it.
He thinks it is far better to keep the border in chaos, so he can exploit it for personal political gains.
And Senate Republicans, vertebrae nowhere to be found, are ready to blunder away our best chance at fixing the border, in order to elevate what they see as the interests of Donald Trump above the interests of the country.
I expected this kind of cynical nonsense from the far-right House MAGA Republicans, but it is shameful and embarrassing to see MAGA radicalism take hold here in the Senate.
So, no matter how today shakes out, I hope Republicans end up doing the right thing when it comes to national security before the day is done and agree
s to move forward on those things they do support.
Because, if there is one other person besides Donald Trump who is rooting for chaos in the Senate, it is Vladimir Putin.
If we fail in this moment, if we abandon our friends in Ukraine to Vladimir Putin, history will cast a shameful and permanent shadow on Senators who block funding. It is a matter of the highest national urgency that we get this right.
Remember what Putin said two months ago about American aid to Ukraine: “the free stuff is going to run out some day, and it seems it already is.”
That is Vladimir Putin taunting the Senate, taunting America. We have a chance, today, to make him regret those words.
Republicans of decades past would have never hesitated to supported funding for nations like Ukraine. In previous generations, both parties would have bent heaven and Earth to stand up to Russian dictators. I can hear Ronald Reagan giving a speech, passionately asking the senate to vote for aid to Ukraine. We spent half a century safeguarding the free world against the malicious spread of communism, against tyranny, against those who have tried to undermine our values.
Those very same issues – of Western Democracy, of the sovereignty of free nations, of the safety of our troops, our citizens – are on the line yet again in the twenty-first century. They are the very things that stich this supplemental together. It is why we are here with this bill before us in the first place.
There is only one right answer for the Senate today to address the great challenges we face.
There is only one path forward to fulfill our obligations to the American people.
There is only one way senators, Democrats and Republicans, on both sides of the aisle should vote today.
And that is for us to move forward on the package of national security.