Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the release of the bipartisan emergency national security supplemental and beginning procedure to move to a vote. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday evening, after months of persistence, hard work, and arduous negotiations, a bipartisan group of Senators released the text of the emergency national security supplemental package.
This bipartisan package is four long, tireless months in the making. Everyone worked doggedly to piece this bill together, from Senators to Senate staff to the Biden Administration. I must have called the negotiators hundreds of times, calling every day—multiple times a day.
I want to thank President Biden for his leadership, and for making it clear from day one that he was willing to compromise with Republicans to get this agreement done. I also wish to thank my Senate colleagues who worked ceaselessly on this package, including Senators Murphy, Sinema, Lankford, Murray, Collins as well as Secretary Mayorkas and the rest of the Administration. And all of our staffs worked so long and so diligently. We are blessed in the Senate to have great, hard-working, dedicated staffs.
At times, I know it seemed as if negotiations would fall off the tracks. Many on the outside rooted loudly for this effort to fail.
But everyone persisted and persisted. Even in dark moments, I reminded my colleagues of the immense stakes in this bill. And to their everlasting credit, they kept moving forward, and now, we have a bill.
The $64,000 question now is whether or not Senators can drown out the outside noise, drown out people like Donald Trump who want chaos, and do the right thing for America.
I urge Senators of good will on both sides of the aisle to do the right thing and tune the chaos out. History is going to look over our shoulders and ask if the Senate rose to the occasion. We must – we must – act.
In a few moments, I will file cloture on the motion to proceed to the vehicle of the national security supplemental package.
This vote will be the most important that the Senate has taken in a very long time to ensure America’s future, prosperity, and security. That’s how important the vote on this national security supplemental is.
Senators should expect the first vote on this bill to come Wednesday. Everyone will have had three days to read this bill before taking a vote. We must keep working until the job is done: passing this bill is too important to let the calendar get in the way.
Now, getting to this point was never guaranteed. A security package that includes bipartisan border legislation is one of the hardest things the Senate has tackled in years. From the start, I said that the only way we would succeed was if both sides were serious about reaching a bipartisan package.
I worked very hard to give negotiators the space they needed to do their work, and create an environment where bipartisanship could take root.
Many on the hard-right wanted to hijack this process by demanding we take up H.R. 2, but I made clear the only bill I would bring to the floor was one that could win bipartisan support. Not a single Democrat in the House or Senate voted for H.R. 2.
Today, I am proud that after four months of hard negotiations, we indeed have a bipartisan agreement that is a product of compromise, hard work, and persistence. I am hopeful that enough Senators understand that this bill is too important – too important – to let politics get in the way.
Because if we fail the Ukrainian people, then Vladimir Putin will likely succeed in his invasion of Ukraine. Putin will be emboldened. And Western democracy will face the greatest threat it has seen in decades.
If we don’t help Israel defend itself against Hamas, the dangers of another October 7th will persist, and the war in the Middle East could grow much worse.
If we don’t deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, countless of innocent Palestinian civilians will be denied life-saving assistance that cannot wait.
And if we don’t secure our border right now, the crisis our Republican colleagues talk about so much is only going to get worse. Everyone agrees the border is a mess. For years – years – our Republican colleagues have demanded we fix the border, and all along they said it should be done through legislation. Only recently did they change that, when it looked like we might actually produce legislation.
Well, we are producing legislation in a bipartisan way, and now, unfortunately, many on the hard-right are turning their back on this package. Everyone is asking the same question: are MAGA Republicans serious about fixing the border or is this merely political?
Now, if Senate Democrats wrote this national security supplemental entirely on our own, of course it would look different.
But we live in an era of divided government, and that means that both sides have to compromise if we want to pass a bill. This bipartisan agreement is not perfect, but given all the dangers facing America, it is the comprehensive package our country needs right now.
It will provide tens of billions in military assistance for Ukraine so they have more access to more Javelins, ammunitions, Stingers, Howitzers, and more.
It gives Israel the security assistance it needs to resist those who wish to wipe out a Jewish state off the map.
It delivers life-saving humanitarian assistance, food, water, medicine, clothing, not just for innocent civilians in Gaza but for growing humanitarian needs around the world.
It holds the line against the Chinese Communist Party in the Indo-Pacific.
And it has other items we’re very proud of too: hundreds of millions for the Nonprofit Security Grant program to protect synagogues, churches, mosques, HBCUs, and other nonprofit organizations victimized by discrimination and hate. This is something I’ve worked very hard to secure for years.
It also includes the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, something we tried very hard to pass in the defense authorization bill and we’re glad it has been included here.
And of course, thanks to months and months and months of hard work by Senators Murphy, Sinema, Lankford Murray, Collins, and our staffs – and many, many others who provided their input – this supplemental package is a real opportunity for Congress to finally address America’s borders, and make progress towards a more efficient and well-resourced system. It will cut years of delay in the asylum process while ensuring fair outcomes. It will invest in more frontline personnel and provide more funding to the border.
Make no mistake about it , fixing our immigration system will not finish with this bill. Democrats will keep fighting to reach our ultimate goal of comprehensive immigration reform. I believe so strongly in comprehensive reform, and as you all recall I led the Gang of Eight in 2013 to pass it, and we will keep fighting for it once our work on this supplemental is done.
Now in coming days, I urge Senators on both sides to think carefully about what’s at stake in this legislation. This moment, this bill, the actions here in the next few days are an inflection point in history, where the security of our nation, and of the world, hang in the balance. I know a majority of Senators want to get this done, and I know it will take bipartisan cooperation to move quickly.
It’s not going to be easy, but Senators owe it to the American people to tune out the political noise coming from the outside and do the right thing for our country, our beloved country.
This moment demands the Senate to show leadership. It harkens back to the decades and moments where senators did rise to the occasion. It demands the Senate’s decisive action. In the coming days I hope that the Senate can, once again, rise to the occasion and lead America forward.