tv U.S. Senate Senators Mazie Hirono Thom Tillis on Govt Funding Through... CSPAN January 19, 2018 4:55am-5:22am EST
alone. you cannot give the democratic caucus a fait accompli and expect democrats to say, oh, yes, sir, we're going to follow you. this requires bipartisan discussion, bipartisan discussion on the parity issue and domestic spending, bipartisan discussion on daca. we have a strong majority of members of the senate who support a dreamers piece of legislation and a path towards citizenship. we have a strong majority of the american people and a strong majority of members of the senate who want disaster relief. this should not be a difficult problem. the american people want a resolution. they want it done in a bipartisan way. let's do it. let's not kick the can down the road. republicans must understand that they must negotiate in a bipartisan way.
and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. senat? the presiding officer: the senator from lie high. ms. hirono: -- from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, the republicans control every level of the federal government. they hold majorities in the house and senate. they have the presidency. and yet the very people, republicans who set the agenda in washington and have majorities in both the house and senate are desperately trying to convince the american people a government shutdown should be blamed on anyone else but them. give me a break. nobody wants a shutdown except maybe the president who seems to relish a government shutdown as a way of, quote, shaking things up, unquote, regardless of who gets hurt. but members of congress should know better and republicans should get down to business and negotiate with democrats in good faith.
republicans in the house and senate have brought us to the brink of a shutdown because they are terrified of the ideological extremextremists in their own py who reject even the most reasonable bipartisan compromises. they are terrified of a her cure yal -- mercurial president who changes his mind on a whim and who has repeatedly said that maybe we need a good government shutdown so he can get his vanity wall. donald trump and the republicans will be held responsible for any government shutdown. they've created the situation and the american people will hold them accountable. democrats have been open and transparent about the things that we're fighting for. we're fighting to reauthorize the children's health insurance program, chip, so that nine million kids across the country can continue to access the
life-saving health care that they need. we're fighting to restore funding to community health centers that serve millions of underserved americans in rural communities, whether they live in kansas, ohio, or any of the other states that trump won. we're fighting to protect the dreamers who could be deported to countries they no little of because the president unnecessarily and cruelly ended the daca program. and we're fighting for parity and funding for defense and domestic spending in any budget deal. these are not partisan democratic priorities. if you put each of these priorities up for a vote, they would all pass with bipartisan support in the house and the senate. in fact, we could have passed each of these bills a long time ago, but instead of doing something that would actually help people, republicans spent months working as hard as they
could behind closed doors to give the wealthiest 1% of the people in our country and corporations huge tax cuts. and now they're trying to convince the other 99% of the american public that this tax bill was a good deal for them. but that's another story and that's another example of misplaced priorities. getting back to the matter at hand, which is the urgency of preventing a government shutdown, the house is trying to pass another short-term spending bill that only includes al reauthorization for -- a reauthorization for children's health and not the other important priorities that we need to support. republicans in congress are trying to pit communities, children, families, and dreamers against one another in an attempt to divide and conquer. they are hoping that we will support yet another government funding bill that kicks the can down the road because they
funded children's health, even as in their bill they abandon the dreamers and the rural communities who depend on community health centers. we cannot allow this cynical republican ploy to succeed. we need to keep fighting for children's health, community health centers, for dreamers, and for parity. and i will not vote for any government funding bill that does not include all four of these important and urgent priorities. we can't leave anyone behind because it's clear that donald trump won't keep his promise to protect those you call the daca kids. i was at the white house last week when the president looked us in the eye and said on national tv that he would sign a bipartisan compromise on dreamers. he barely waited for us to leave the white house before reneging on that promise. and we all know what happened last week during the meeting
with senators durbin and graham at the white house when he was presented with a bipartisan compromise. we can't let the president's irresponsible behavior stop us from fighting for dreamers who deserve our support and protection. dreamers like getsy from beaver, oregon, who i met last month when they traveled to d.c. to fight for passage for the dream act. her parents brought her from mexico when she was only four years old. the journey was long and hard and her sister was left behind. growing up, her parents warned her not to talk about her immigration status because even mentioning it to the wrong person could result in their deportation. she lived in constant fear. growing up getsy's parents always emphasized the importance of obtaining higher education.
while her mom and dad only completed fifth and 12th grades respectively, they instilled a level of learning in their daughter and a deep desire for her to go to college. after working hard in high school, getsy enrolled at western oregon university where she's studying to become a gerontology nurse. she works incredibly hard. she's taking 20 credits a semester. i remember whether i was in college, 15 credits was a lot. she's taking 20 working full time at an assistive living facility and has recently become a certified rock climbing instructor. she's scheduled to graduate a year early -- she's taking 20 credits -- a year early from western oregon in may. after graduation, she's planning to enroll in an accelerated nursing master's program so that
she can realize her dream of becoming a jarenology -- gerontology nurse. she talked about wanting to care for people like her grandmother back in mexico and for her parents as they got older. without the protections daca provides, getsy would lose her work authorization and if she isn't able to work, she would not be able to pay for school and would be unable to pursue her dreams. wh i asked her why she traveled for days to come to washington to share this message with congress, her response was very moving. she said, quote, i have so many dreams and aspiration and i urge people here to understand how much these dreamers have to give to the u.s. we were brought at such a young age. we don't know anything about our homelands.
i want to be able to stay in the u.s., to stay with my family and friends, my nieces and nephew, everyone who is looking up to me. i want to prove that my parents' sacrifice meant something. end quote. this is a pivotal moment for congress. are we going to do more than pay lip service to dreamers like getsy by doing our jobs to protect them and provide health care to millions of children and families across the country? or are we going to bend to the whims of an unpredictable and unreliable president? rather than waiting for the president to make up his mind, i call on the majority leader to recognize that as a separate branch of government, congress should be a check on the excesses of the executive bran
branch. it's about time the majority leader and republicans in congress step up to do their jobs. vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tillis: thank you, most pee watching tv or watching c-span know we're at a very important place here. we're in a position where midnight tomorrow night if congress doesn't act, we shut down the government. and what does shutting down the government mean? it means a lot of things. it means that there are going to be a number of employees that are wondering when they get their next paycheck or whether or not they'll get repaid depending on whether or not we make a decision to pay them for time worked. it means people who have desperately needed services may be wondering where to get those services. for no other reason, if the money is there, is the distraction going to slow down services for a number of people who rely on the federal government for their safety net.
the games here that we're planning -- playing in the senate are more important than the work that they're doing to protect the nation and protect our allies. it's going to mean a lot of very negative things that should be avoided. i'm going to talk a little bit about it. what i first want to do is just summarize what we're trying to do, people like me who are going to support the continuing resolution. now, to be honest with you, i hate the whole continuing resolution process. when i was younger, there was a time when our family was struggling and my father was doing construction work. and he literally had to borrow money to pay for the materials he needed to actually do the job so that he could pay the bills for the family. and the way you did that and the way you do take still struggling families, you get these 90-day ♪ s. you go to a banker. you tell them you have a project to work on. you pay the money back in 90 days. that's how we're running the most important nation that's ever existed, on 90-day nets, a
one-month c.r., 12-month c.r., that's not the way you run the greatest nation on the face of the planet. it has a number of problems with it, not the least of which is you can't give the military any certainty on what they can invest in in the next new generation weapon for the defense system because they don't know if the money will be there for them to make the investment. it means we're getting far less production for our dollar. we're inefficient. and we're sending a message to the world that we're not serious about long-term investments that we need to make for our safety and security. it also affects a number of other agencies, but i think its every important -- it's very important in these times with all the heightened threats across the world that we send a message we're not here for the long term and are not willing to make the long-term investments. that's a bad message to assume and that's the problem with c.r.'s, what we call regular order, sit down, pass appropriations bills, give the men and women in uniform, give the government employee, give the people that rely on our
safety net some certainty. that's the failure of our job. that's why i support a bill senator heller is proposing. it's called no budget, no pay. i think we should stop the senate members, the members of the house should not get a paycheck when they fail to do their job. doing their job means you pass appropriations bills, you pass a budget and you do the job that you swore that you would do if you won a race in the united states senate or u.s. congress. i hope that bill gets a debate on the u.s. floor. i look forward to supporting it when it does. let's go back to the c.r. it's pretty simple. it's four weeks long. all it really does is make sure we have funding for our service members and make sure we have funding for our veterans. it makes sure we have funding for a child program, the chip program. it actually authorizes it for several years. it gives certainty to states and to people who need support that it's going to be there. it also provides funding for small business loans and funding
for the national institutes of health. it does a number of other things but those are critically important. now we have some members that are trying to negotiate a deal for the daca population. that's deferred action for childhood arrivals. it's a program that president obama put into place in 2012. it's something i've been working on since we filed a bill in august and long before that to try and get reasonable amount of members on both sides of the aisle to come up with a solution that makes sense. but now we have people who actually want to shut down the government because we haven't reached a bipartisan agreement that i think is not that far away. the problem that i have with that is i think it's going to create a toxic environment in washington, d.c. that it's not only going to provide all the uncertainty that i talked about on the prior slide, but it's even going to alienate people who are coming to the table trying to negotiate a bipartisan
agreement. so now we're at a point to where we're trying to figure out if we can fund government either through a vote sometime tomorrow or a shutdown tomorrow night. what i find interesting, and i've only been here for about three years -- i've been in politics for about a dozen years. i find it interesting how things change overnight, how things that were untenable and awful a couple of months or couple of years ago are justified today based on the disagreement that we have on the daca deal that i'm convinced that we will get done before the march 5 deadline. and i hope a lot sooner than that because there's a lot of young men and women, good people, kids that came to this nation through no fault of their own, through a decision made by an adult, who deserve a path to citizenship, who deserve the respect of this nation and who should welcome them because there are a lot of good kids. and i'm going to keep on working on a solution. but now i've got people that want to distract us, not only distract us from trying to negotiate a reasonable outcome from daca, but add to
distraction and create the toxic environment that shutting down the government will cause. if you go back, what's amazing to me is the very people who are now saying we should shut down the government made these kind of statements in the past. this is from former speaker pelosi, minority leader in the house. not too long ago it was an unthinkable tactic to use in a political debate. there's a long list of people. senator nelson, you don't hold the country hostage. but that's exactly what they're proposing today. senator king, the constant hostage-taking situation to get something that the process -- that in the process you can't get through the normal process. it's a hard quote to read. but the point is now they want to take hostages. now they want to to do exactly what they thought not long ago was inappropriate, unkind, unfair, uncompassionate. then we have senator heitkamp,
it's really bullying behavior when the small minority does this. well, i think it will be a minority that will oppose funding the government. so now people who didn't like the bullying behavior are trying to rash nalaxone it that -- rationalize that it's okay. we've been getting close on a funding discussion and daca. i can't speak to y'all directly, but if i were speaking to the pages, i would ask them whether or not they saw the peanuts cartoon because there's a common thing that we talk about that lucy and the football. you've seen the scene where you're running down, think you're about to kick that football and just about the time you're going to do it, there's a group of people here that want to pull the football away. that's what they're doing again. honestly, you know, it gets tiring to see us come so close, to have so many
reasonable-minded people. now, guess what? there are unreasonable people. it's a bipartisan situation we have here. we have, i have friends, they are friends of mine, but on certain issues they become unreasonable. they're not part of the solution. but all of a sudden they create these coalitions and they are the lucy taking away the football from those of us who just want to score, want to actually make progress, want to fund the government, want to actually provide a solution for the daca population. but now we've got another lucy in the football scenario on both the spending bill and also the daca bill. now i also have to talk about the chip program. the clip -- chip program is something i wanted to reauthorize since september of last year. september of last year was the month before the program technically expired. however there was sufficient money in reserves for states to run the program. those states are starting to run out of money including states like mine in north carolina. now we have an opportunity to reauthorize it for years, to
provide certainty to this child population for years. and we're going to hold it hostage because we have an honest disagreement over things that i think we can work out with the daca program. we see what people have said in the past. in fact, one of these senators has had a countdown on how many days we failed to authorize daca. it may very well be when we take the vote tonight that very same senator is going to actually vote against a multiyear authorization for the chip program. that doesn't make sense. it's i are rational. it doesn't solve anything. it creates a bigger problem when it comes to the funding discussion and when it ultimately comes to a reasonable outcome for the daca population. and then finally, we can talk about the words of the democratic leader. and again, it's amazing to me how things have changed. so, did you believe what you were saying then? or what position you're taking
now, is that who you really are? people need to come to the floor and let me know. is this what you really meant or is your new position what you really meant? you can't have it both ways? in politics people try to, but you need to say something and stick with it. they need to defend which is their really position. if it really are the positions of the past, let's pass the spending bill, let's work hard on getting daca done and stop this theater that's not helping anybody. all this is doing is making people work who rely on governmental funding, worry who rely on government funding, and making the daca population even more worried. every night they go to bed thinking they're one day closer to having illegal status here. the speeches you see on the floor about the dreamers, the people doing it well -- most of them are, going to school, working, serving in the military, i believe every single one of them. and there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of more examples. that's why i'm so motivated to come up with a solution and that's why i'm so frustrated we're playing these games when we're so close.
so, now let's talk about daca. there is a so-called gang that's putting together a bill. let me back up and talk about a meeting that i attended in the white house last tuesday. the meeting i had the prior thursday where republicans met with the president and said mr. president, the way for us to get to a solution is to call democrats and republicans into a room, members of of the house and senate, have us air our differences and then agree to a time line for negotiating the deal that we can bring to the american people and solve this problem. we asked the president, and he responded by calling a meeting on that tuesday. some people may have seen it. it was about 15 minutes of press coverage. senator grassley, the chair of the judiciary committee who just came in here, was a part of that meeting. and we all felt great about it. we aired our differences. we agreed to four different pillars that we would use as a
basis for negotiation. come up with something that the daca population needs. something close. something compassionate. something very similar or something between a bill that me and senator lankford and senator hatch proposed. bridge the differences. we were making progress. but we knew we had to deal with things like the diversity lottery and border security and what some of our colleagues call family unification, which has been abused. and it needs to be fixed. others call it chain migration. at the end of that meeting, we agreed that what we needed to do waos have -- was have the leade, the whips of the house and senate, the democrats and republicans, agree to a timeline and a schedule, and then get together and work out our differences. i for one think most of those meetings should have been open to the public because then i think the public would raoeldz raoeldz -- realize we're not that far apart. unfortunately we're a week and a
half later and the parties have not even reached an agreement on a schedule to begin the negotiation. now we have another group of people that say we've got something that's pretty close and we may file a bill, or you need to get on to the bill. let me tell you the problem i have with that bill. or the concept of a bill. number one, has it been introduced? no. none of us can really talk about the specific provisions because we don't have something that we can score, that we can look at, that we can understand the benefits and the risk and the issues associated with it and whether or not we can get the votes. the question is does the bill have the support of the president. i think you saw what was vetted on thursday which was not specific provisions. that meeting last week didn't go too well on several different levels. but we don't have an agreement. the other question is if you don't have an agreement with the president, you have to understand the process of the congress. if the president were to veto the bill, we're struggling to get 60 votes. but now we'd have to get 67.
does anybody here honestly believe we'll get 67 votes to withstand a veto override. we've got it to get back to this one. get the president behind it because that's not going to happen. and even if that could happen, then we have to go to the house, and you can't think about a simple majority of the house members. you've got to think about a supermajority of house members that would override a presidential veto. right now based on the number of members who are in the house, there's a couple of open seats, that's 288 votes. that isn't going to happen. that's not a very good score card. it's not a recipe for success. i'm one of the ones who want check boxes next to a bill that the president supports, that the senate will get 60 votes and the house will get more than half so that we can solve the problem for the daca population. so i hope, and theupbgdz happen quickly here and hopefully this is another example where they will, i hope that my republican
colleagues recognize that voting against the funding bill is a bad idea. how do you work out of a shutdown? almost certainly it will not end well. so i hope my republican colleagues will vote for the spending bill, and i hope a majority or a good number of my democratic colleagues will so that we get the spending issue off the table. and then i hope that same group of people will come together and recognize that the gaps are not that hard to bridge for the daca solution, that the border security measures are reasonable, that the changes and the elimination of the diversity lottery and a more reasonable way to allow merit-based immigration makes sense. we can deal with underrepresented countries to make absolutely certain that the good, hardworking people from those countries who want to come and live and work in america can do it. this is not a difficult thing to do. it's almost as if people are going in the back room trying to figure out how to make this more difficult than it really needs to be. but i'm telling and imploring
the members of senate, whether you're a republican or democrat, vote for funding the government. vote for our soldiers. vote for our veterans. vote for our children who require these programs, who are desperately in need of certainty. and then quickly get on daca. and vote for the dreamers who need our support. vote for border security so that we can know who's coming across this border and we can make the nation safer. these are commonsense, rational and reasonable expectations. and if we lower the temperature here, if we treat people with respect, and if we actually not let the polar opposites impact what those of us in the center want to do, then we can avoid this crisis and we can do great things for millions of people. thank you, mr. president. i yield thehe quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: you know, madam