Schumer Floor Remarks On The Chaos In The White House, Trump’s Responsibility For A Potential Shutdown, And The Multiple Ways For Republicans To Avoid A Trump ShutdownDecember 21, 2018
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor (at approximately 12:15 p.m.) regarding the chaos that is occurring in the White House, Trump’s responsibility for a potential shutdown, and the multiple ways for Republicans to avoid a Trump shutdown. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Mr. President, the events of the past week should concern every American. This may have been the most chaotic week of what’s undoubtedly the most chaotic presidency ever in the history of the United States.
The stock market is in a tumult and in decline. The Secretary of Defense, one of the only pairs of steady hands in our government, is resigning from the administration in protest. And the United States is pulling out of Syria and likely Afghanistan, abandoning our coalitions, allies, and the Kurds; and surrendering the field to Putin, Iran, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Taliban, and Bashar Al-Assad.
The position of Defense Secretary, of Attorney General, of Ambassador to the United Nations, of Interior Secretary, and even Chief of Staff to the president are all in flux.
The institutions of our government lack steady and experienced leadership. With all of these departures, it is about to get even more unsteady. The president is making decisions without counsel, without preparation, and even without communication between relevant departments and relevant agencies.
All of this turmoil is causing chaos in the markets, chaos abroad, and it’s making the United States less prosperous and less secure.
And to top it all off, President Trump has thrown a temper tantrum and now has us careening towards a Trump shutdown over Christmas.
In a short time the Senate will take part in a pointless exercise to demonstrate to our House colleagues and the president what everyone here already knows: there are not the votes in the Senate for an expensive, taxpayer-funded border wall.
So, President Trump: you will not get your wall. Abandon your shutdown strategy. You’re not getting the wall today, next week, or on January 3rd when Democrats take control of the House.
Just two days ago, the Senate came together to support a proposal by Leader McConnell – unanimously, every Democrat, every Republican – to extend government funding through February, without partisan demands. What it would accomplish would be that the government would not shut down, and the fights we are having would be postponed to a later day and millions of Americans would not be hurt this Christmas week. So, let me repeat that: the Senate – every Democrats, every Republican -- has already unanimously supported a clean extension of government funding.
Democrats supported that measure because we do not want to see the government shut down. We have no demands other than that. We had every indication that the president would sign that legislation, as did our friends, Republicans on the other side of the aisle in the Senate. But yesterday, President Trump, hounded by the radical voices of the hard right, threw another temper tantrum and here we are, once again, on the brink of what the president has spent months saying he wanted: a Trump shutdown.
The president will do his best to blame Democrats, but it’s flatly absurd. President Trump called for a shutdown no less than 25 times. In our meeting in the Oval Office, President Trump said: “if we don’t get what we want, I [President Trump] will shut down the government. I am proud to shut it down,” said President Trump. “I’m not going to blame you [meaning Democrats]…I will take the mantle of shutting it down.” Those are President Trump’s words and nothing he says or does today can undo that. No Democrat has called for shutting the government down. We are all working to avoid it. The president seems to relish it. He seems to feel it will throw a bone to his base -- the problem being his base is less than one-quarter of America.
President Trump: you cannot erase months of video of you saying that you wanted a shutdown and that you wanted the responsibility and blame for one. President Trump: you own the shutdown. You said so in your own words. And, President Trump may get his wish, unfortunately.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Democrats have offered two alternatives and Republicans, Leader McConnell have offered one. Democrats have offered to pass the six bipartisan appropriations bills plus a one-year continuing resolution for Homeland Security. We have also offered a one-year continuing resolution for all the remaining bills. Republicans have offered to pass a short-term continuing resolution through early February.
Each one of those proposals would pass the House and pass the Senate. Each one of those proposals contains $1.3 billion of real border security, not a wall. There is no wall in those proposals. Democrats support real border security, not a wall. And by the way, that’s in addition to the $1.3 billion in border security Congress allocated last year, the vast majority of which the Trump Administration has not yet spent. They’re asking for loads of new money, they haven’t yet spent last year’s money. It is clearly a political gambit by President Trump to appease his never-happy base. On the other hand, a Trump shutdown would result in zero dollars for the Department of Homeland Security over the Christmas holiday.
So there are several ways for President Trump and Congressional Republicans to avoid a shutdown over Christmas, I mentioned three. But there is only one way that we will have a Trump shutdown: if President Trump clings to his position for an unnecessary, ineffective, taxpayer-funded border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.