January 30, 2019
“The president has presented a path to compromise. Now Democrats should follow suit. All we need to succeed is cooperation…It’s time to move to the middle and move forward on border security. By working together, we can produce a winning solution for America.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about the need for Democrats and Republicans to work together on a solution that secures our nation’s southern border and keeps the government open.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“The government is now reopened for three weeks. It is welcome news that President Trump has signed the stopgap funding measure, and he fully paid furloughed federal workers.
“There’s an important workforce story that I believe has been lost over the last couple weeks during this shutdown.
“It’s a story about the great news on the American economy.
“The economy continues to fire on all cylinders. It’s fueled in part by what Republicans’ have been able to accomplish due to our pro-jobs policies.
“Since the tax cut law was signed a year ago, this economy has created 2.6 million American jobs.
“Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks for a number of reasons.
“One is that wages are up, and the other is that taxes are down.
“Last month’s 3.2 percent year-over-year increase in average hourly wages matched October as the biggest increase since 2009.
“This wage increase was even stronger for production workers and non-managers, who saw an additional raise of year-over-year growth.
“The economy is producing more jobs.
“For nine straight months now, there have been more available jobs in this country than individuals looking for work.
“Last week, we saw jobless claims drop to the lowest level since November of 1969. That’s half a century.
“Now we need to refocus our attention on continuing to grow our economy, continuing to increase wages, continuing to create more high-paying jobs for American workers.
“Democrats, meanwhile, seem to want to put the brakes on the economy.
“They are proposing higher taxes and expansive new regulations, so we still have our work cut out for us.
“This excellent economic news underscores the need for us to work together to resolve our differences on important government-funding legislation.
“Keep in mind 75 percent of the government is already funded through the end of the fiscal year. Congress still must fund the remaining 25 percent by February 15.
“By signing the three-week continuing resolution, the president has given Congress the opportunity to come together to secure the southern border and to fund the government.
“During the shutdown standoff Democrats repeatedly called for the president to reopen the government for three weeks so they could seriously negotiate on border security.
“We now have a three week agreement. Time will tell whether Democrats are serious about solving this border security crisis and protecting the American people.
“A full-year spending deal has to include significant funding for a comprehensive border security package. We need more personnel, we need more technology – and we need more physical barriers.
“Security barriers are not the sole solution, but they are an essential part of the solution.
That’s why the last four presidents built 650 miles of physical barriers along our 2,000-mile border with Mexico. Democrats including Speaker Pelosi voted for all this construction.
“In fact, the speaker’s home state of California has a physical barrier on the border with Tijuana, Mexico.
“Like his four predecessors, President Trump has listened to the security experts. The experts today say we need 200 more miles of physical barriers strategically located where illegal traffic is surging.
“Despite the experts’ support, Democrats have abruptly changed their position on barriers, changed completely, and they have denied the president the funding that he has requested.
“Given that Democrats had supported the 650 miles of physical barriers we currently have, why are they opposing the next 200 more miles, strategically placed where illegal traffic is surging? To me it seems personal, and it seems aimed at President Trump.
“The American people expect us to solve problems, not as Democrats and Republicans but as elected representatives of the people.
“The priority is to move full-year Homeland Security Department spending legislation through Congress that provides wall funding. House-Senate negotiators are working today to produce a compromise package that can pass with the other six bills, and get it done by February 15.
“This conference committee, the committee of the two houses will be meeting later today.
“Conferees may also add other provisions, including immigration reforms. Already the president has offered to extend protections for the ‘Dreamers’ who were brought here as children and immigrants whose temporary visas are expiring. So the president has offered an opportunity and a solution.
“These modest proposals are an immigration policy Band-Aid. Yet they could be the start of broader bipartisan immigration talks.
“From a policy perspective, I believe we are not that far apart. Americans agree border security is important and our immigration system does need reform.
“The country’s safety and the security always must come first.
“The president, in my opinion, is open to reasonable changes to his plan. I believe he’s been very willing to compromise. But as long as Democrats define victory as blocking President Trump however on his key priority, everyone loses. That includes federal workers and it includes the American people, and it includes immigrants.
“The American people expect us to work together to resolve our differences. This isn’t a winner-take-all political game--it never should be. Members of both parties must be flexible.
“Once Congress passes a full-year spending bill, we can move on to other important priorities facing us as a nation.
“President Trump has incredible determination to build physical barriers where Border Control tells us they are most needed. As the president is right when he says, walls work.
“Democrats supported construction before President Trump took office; they should support it now.
“The president has presented a path to compromise. Now Democrats should follow suit.
All we need to succeed is cooperation.
“The best position on this negotiation highway is the middle lane. It’s time to move to the middle and move forward on border security.
“By working together we can produce a winning solution for America.”