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Senate Democrats Call Out Republican Inaction And Hypocrisy On Venezuela TPS

Washington, D.C. –  Today, leading Senate Democrats attempted to pass H.R. 549 the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. The live unanimous consent, requested by Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), was blocked by Republican Senator John Thune (R-SD) on behalf of Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). Today marks the fourth time in the last year that Senate Republicans block legislation to designate Venezuela as a country under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.

“Today was just further proof that President Trump and Senate Republicans are all talk and no action when it comes to actually helping Venezuelans. The hypocrisy is glaring,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Under Maduro’s regime, Venezuela constitutes the single greatest humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere today. That’s why for the fourth time, Senate Democrats attempted again to pass bipartisan legislation that would shield Venezuelans from deportation and provide relief to those in desperate need. What have Republicans done besides object and fail to act? We reiterate our commitment to the Venezuelan community that we won’t stop fighting for you.”  

“We are all in agreement that the Maduro regime is a tyranny worth escaping. In Maduro’s Venezuela, families are desperate to feed themselves, children are tragically dying of treatable illnesses, more than half of all Venezuelan doctors have fled the country, 40 percent of hospitals lack electricity, and 70 percent lack regular access to water. And yet, Senate Republicans somehow insist on exposing Venezuelans in the U.S. to be deported back to Maduro’s nightmare,” said Ranking Member Menendez. “What Republicans fail to understand is that every time they block our efforts to designate Venezuela for TPS through legislation, the Maduro regime gets a false sense of vindication as its victims are rejected and their suffering is somehow deemed not credible by the United States Congress. Providing TPS for Venezuelans is not a political issue, it is the right and moral thing to do. We will not give up our efforts to expose those willing to turn their backs on our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.”

“This Administration can grant TPS without Congressional action, but it refuses.  Senate Republicans could pass the bipartisan house bill to grant Venezuela TPS.  They refuse as well.  Let it be clear: the real failure to help Venezuelans in the United States rests on their shoulders,” said Whip Dick Durbin.  “The Venezuelan policy, like so many others with this Administration and its Senate enablers, is only there to serve the President—President Trump—and no one else.”

Video of Sen. Schumer’s floor remarks is available here.

Video of the UC request on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of the UC request on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of the UC request on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.