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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Delivers Remarks At Press Conference After Senate Republicans Block Bipartisan Border Security Legislation A Second Time

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at a press conference after Republicans blocked the bipartisan border security bill for a second time in today’s vote.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

So we're here again. Just like three months ago, Senate Republicans rejected the strongest and most comprehensive bipartisan border security bill Congress has seen in a whole generation. It's a sad day for the Senate, a sad day for America. Look, I understand that today's bill was not going to win every Democratic vote or every single Republican vote. That's what bipartisanship is. It's a compromise. We had hoped that Republicans, having supported this bill once, would put aside politics and rise to the occasion. Sadly, they did not. “

“The goal was to come up with something that could get a majority of Democrats and Republicans in this chamber to become law. See, this bill, crafted by a Democratic senator, an independent, and a staunch conservative, sought to find a way forward and address what Republicans have called an emergency for years. Of course, as leader, I was part of the negotiations. But let's not forget Leader McConnell was too. Not just in the negotiations, but he signed off on the final package. You don't have to believe me.

“These are Leader McConnell's words ‘I want to congratulate Senator Lankford on a remarkable job of negotiating with the other side, getting the support of the Border Council.’ And McConnell claimed, ‘if we had 100% Republican government: president, House, Senate, we probably could not have been able to get a single Democratic vote to pass this bill.’ He also said it was ‘the ideal time to do it.’ He wasn't the only one to buy into this bill. One Republican Senator said, ‘I have never been at the cusp of an opportunity like this in the last 20 years on immigration that we have right now, something that will make a difference.’ So these aren't the words of Senators who think this was all just political theater. They sound like words of Senators, including Leader McConnell, who were hoping to get something done.

“So what happened? Well, we know the former president put politics over what's best for the country. Trump told his MAGA allies to kill it in the in its tracks so he could exploit the issue on the campaign trail. In Donald Trump's words, ‘please blame it on me. Please.’ And Senate Republicans blindly and loyally followed suit. It was appalling then, it's worse now. We gave Republicans a second chance to show where they stand. Do they want to fix this so-called emergency, or do they want to show blind allegiance to the former president, even when they know he's wrong?

“Our position: to get something done in a bipartisan way is the position of a large, large majority of Americans. Poll after poll shows that a large majority of Americans across party lines support our position of getting a bipartisan bill done, and only 8% are in opposition. When Republicans like Donald Trump say, don't support a bipartisan bill, wait till next year. They're in a distinct minority with the American people and even a minority among Republicans. A majority of Democrats, 80% of Americans in key states, believe that the situation at the border is unacceptable and demands attention in action, and this bill would have addressed that in a strong and meaningful way.

“A majority of Democrats and Americans believe it's imperative to our national security to ensure our frontline border officials have the tools and resources needed to disrupt threats and keep us safe, including hiring thousands of new border patrol agents and officers that this bill would have done. A majority of Democrats and Americans believe we absolutely must crack down on fentanyl coming over the southern border. This bill would have done that using billions of dollars and top technology to do it. It's not just a majority of Democrats and Americans that support what's in this bill, but the Chamber of Commerce, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Border Patrol Union.

“So today was an opportunity for Republicans to listen to the millions of Americans across the country that support this bill and the thousands of border patrol officers on the front lines of the border that endorse the bill. The contrast between Democrats and Republicans is clear today and will be even clearer in November. Democrats want to fix the border and get something done. Republicans want to give speeches, let the border fester, and do absolutely nothing to fix the problem. They think it's a smart political strategy, but they're wrong.

“Now, Democrats will continue to keep trying to fix our border problem. It's too important for our national security, our communities, and our country.”