Schumer Floor Remarks on Upcoming Senate Vote on House-Passed Legislation to Reopen the Government & End the Trump ShutdownJanuary 22, 2019
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding two cloture votes scheduled for Thursday January 24, 2019. The first is a vote on the president’s one-sided proposal to radically alter our immigration system and spend billions on a wall he promised Mexico would pay for. The second is a vote on the House-passed continuing resolution to re-open the government through February 8, 2019 and provide needed disaster aid. Below are his remarks:
Thank you, Mr. President. And I thank the Republican Leader.
The Republican Leader has just announced an agreement we’ve reached about the schedule for Thursday’s votes. Two votes, both of which will be amendments to the House-passed continuing resolution. First, the Senate will vote on the president’s proposal and then we’ll vote on an amendment that is identical to the underlying bill.
Now, the president said his proposal was a reasonable compromise. In fact, it is neither reasonable nor a compromise. There were no serious negotiations with any Democrat about what went into the proposal. That’s because the proposal was never intended to pass. It’s only a thinly-veiled attempt by the president to save face. Anyone who looks at the legislation can tell that it was designed to fail. In exchange for the wall, the president only offers limited, temporary protections for DACA and TPS – protections he singlehandedly removed – so it’s sort of like bargaining for stolen goods. And then on top of that, he has proposed new, radical changes to our asylum system without consulting any Democrats; changes that controvert our nation’s most fundamental and precious values. I hope it will be roundly defeated on Thursday.
The good news is, after that vote, we have a second amendment that could break us out of the morass we are in. The Senate will proceed to an amendment to the House bill that is identical to the underlying legislation. In other words, for the first time, we will get a vote on whether to open up the government without any decision one way or the other on border security. The proposal also adds necessary disaster aid to several states that were recently ravaged by national disasters. People are saying, “Isn’t there a way out of this mess? Isn’t there a way to relieve the burden on the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid? Isn’t there a way to get government services open first and then debate what we should do for border security?”
Now there’s a way. And that is the second vote that will occur on Thursday. It would renew all of the portions of the government until February 8th. Open them briefly. But open them it will, allowing workers to get paid, to get their back pay. And it will allow us to then debate – without hostage-taking, without temper tantrums, without anything – how we can best do border security, get that done hopefully by February 8th, and keep the government open.
So if you’re looking for a way to open up the government, this is the way. And I hope my Republican colleagues, many of whom were circulating a letter that does basically the same thing as this proposal without the disaster aid, to sign, to vote yes. The American people are looking for a solution. I am glad we will have a vote that will bring us near that solution, much closer to that solution. And that is the second vote, which will open up the government and then allow us to debate border security.
Again, I urge enough of my Republican colleagues to join us Democrats in voting for that proposal. It’s already passed the House. That could open up the government.