Schumer: The President’s Proposal Is One-Sided, Harshly Partisan, And Was Made In Bad Faith

January 22, 2019
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding President Trump’s one-sided and partisan immigration proposal to end his shutdown, a problem he created. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:
 
Well Mr. President, the Trump shutdown is now in its thirty-second day. Essential government services are straining under the lack of resources: airport security, food safety, our federal courts, our national parks. The economy is taking a serious hit. It’s even been revealed today that FBI investigations, law enforcement, are being curtailed. And of course 800,000 federal employees, dedicated to their jobs and their country, continue to languish without pay. The personal financial crises President Trump is inflicting on these patriotic Americans is worsening by the day. He’s hurting the 800,000 dedicated public servants, the millions who depend upon them, and the entire country.
 
This must stop. The government shutdown must end. President Trump and Leader McConnell need to come to their senses and reopen the government.
 
Instead, over the weekend, President Trump made a televised address to outline an immigration proposal that’s going nowhere fast.
 
It’s clear that the president has realized that he’s put himself and the country in an untenable position. Everyone knows the president said he would be “proud to shut down the government.” Everyone knows that he and Leader McConnell are the only obstacles to opening it back up. Across the board, the polling shows even a good chunk of Republicans are getting disillusioned with the president and the Republican Senate because they persist in keeping the government shutdown, demanding they get their way or else.
 
So the Leader’s attempts, which I just heard on the floor here, the Leader’s attempts to blame Democrats for the shutdown are futile. They’re so far from reality no one takes the Leader seriously when he says it. The American people know that President Trump is responsible for the shutdown, and they have learned that Leader McConnell is a co-conspirator in the shutdown.
 
So the president is realizing he’s hurting, hurting with the public, hurting the economy, underlining the fact his presidency has far too much chaos and too little order, direction, and certainty. The president had to make a proposal to try and shake things up. It was not a good faith proposal, it was not intended to end the shutdown.
 
The president’s proposal is one-sided, harshly partisan, and was made in bad faith.
 
The president single-handedly canceled DACA and TPS protections. He did it himself, on his own a while back. Now, offering some temporary protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise, its more hostage taking. When the president says I’ll give you DACA and TPS partially, even though he created the problem on his own in exchange for the wall, it’s like bargaining for stolen goods.
 
The president didn’t offer the DACA protections in good faith. The president’s team sold the DACA protections as the Bridge Act, a temporary fix originally proposed by Senators Durbin and Graham. Turns out the actual legislation is even more limited than the Bridge Act, and would barely restore the protections that President Trump himself took away. The New York Times reported that Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s harshest policies on legal immigration, intervened to narrow the DACA proposal as much as possible. When Stephen Miller is crafting the policy, you can be darn sure it’s not a compromise.
 
And worst of all, we found out this morning that the legislation includes incredibly partisan changes to our asylum system that make it nearly impossible for migrants to claim asylum at our border. That’s a dramatic change in what America has been all about; a dramatic turning around from what America has always had as its symbol, the Statue of Liberty. The asylum changes are a poison pill if there ever was one, and show the lack of good faith that the president, and now Leader McConnell, have in trying to make a proposal.
 
The president and his team have tried to spin this proposal as a reasonable compromise with concessions to Democrats. That defies credulity. Nothing – nothing – could be further from the truth. There were no serious negotiations with Democratic leaders or any Democrat to produce this proposal. Let me say that again. There were no serious negotiations with Democratic leaders or any Democrat to produce this proposal. The president didn’t ask what Democrats needed in a bill to achieve our support. He simply laid his proposal down on the table and proclaimed it a compromise. You can’t have a compromise when one side declares “this is what we want, and this is what you want.” You can’t have a compromise when one side is determining not only what they want in the bill, but what we want in the bill without even seriously negotiating with us. That’s not how negotiating works. That’s not the Art of the Deal.
 
What we have here is just another one-sided, partisan proposal from the president. And contrary to the president’s claims, it hardly represents a softening of his position. If anything, it’s even more radical.
 
First, President Trump said, “give me the wall or I’ll shut down the government.” Then, President Trump said, “unless you give me the wall, I’ll keep the government shut down.” Now, President Trump is saying: “give me the wall AND make radical changes to legal immigration, or I’ll keep the government down.”
 
No one – no one – can call this a new effort at compromise. The president’s proposal is just wrapping paper on the same partisan package and hostage taking tactics. You take off the wrapping paper, and it’s the same partisan, narrow, unacceptable package that cannot pass the House, that cannot pass the Senate.
 
So far, the only legislation that has a chance of arriving at the president’s desk is for the Senate to take up and pass any of the appropriations bills already passed by the House. These bills are noncontroversial. There are no surprises or poison pill riders. In essence, what’s in those bills was supported by Republicans already. And each of them would reopen the government and allow us to continue our discussions on border security. The sooner Leader McConnell allows a vote on those bills, the sooner we can end this pointless shutdown and reopen the government. President Trump, Leader McConnell: the American people – 800,000 workers – are asking and waiting for you to act.

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