Skip to main content

Mitch McConnell
  U.S. Senate Maj. Ldr. Mc Connell Lays Out Immigration Debate  CSPAN  February 13, 2018 3:26am-3:31am EST

3:26 am
majority leader. mr. mcconnell: today, president trump will put forward his budget requests for the next fiscal year. i look forward to reviewing the president's priorities. the bipartisan -- with a bipartisan funding agreement now in place, congress and the white house can work together to begin rebuilding our military, improve care for veterans, and tackle other urgent matters from disaster relief to the fight against drug addiction. i especially appreciate the president's focus on improving america's infrastructure. the quality of our country's infrastructure affects everything from our long-term economic future to working americans every day -- americans' everyday routines. as of 2016, nearly one in ten bridges in our nation is
3:27 am
structurally deficient. the average commuter loses 42 hours per year to delays. and the average age of our inland waterways, lox and dams is over 50 years oalt. we're intimately familiar with this in kentucky where we ship millions of tons of coal, agricultural products, and other cargo on more than 1,900 miles of inland waterways. the problem runs deeper than dollars and cents. american workers built skyscrapers in less time than our government now spends reviewing, not even building, but reviewing plans for new bridges and stretches of highway. so i'm particularly happy that the president is proposing to eliminate regulatory barriers and streamline lengthy and overcomplicated permitting processes. historically, infrastructure has been an area of bipartisan cooperation. our last three highway bills passed with large bipartisan
3:28 am
majorities, averaging more than 80 yes votes. so did our last three wrda bills and our last three f.a.a. bills. i hope we can build on this record and make more bipartisan progress on this subject. now, on another matter, as i have repeatedly stated, now that there is an agreement on long-term government funding, the senate will proceed to a fair debate over the daca issue, border security, and other matters pertaining to the subject of immigration. this process begins in just a few hours. we will vote to proceed to an unrelated, neutral house-passed bill that will serve as a vehicle for any legislation that succeeds here in the senate. as i have repeated many times, i will ensure that a fair amendment process gives senators the opportunity to submit proposals for consideration and votes. i hope this body can seize this opportunity and deliver real
3:29 am
progress toward securing our border, reforming aspects of immigration policy, and achieving a resolution for individuals who are brought to our country illegal when they were young. the american people have heard no shortage of rhetoric on this issue. they have heard many of my colleagues across the aisle insist this issue requires swift action. now is the time to back up the talk with the hard work of finding a workable solution. that means finding an agreement that can pass the senate, pass the house, and which the president will sign. not just making a point. a number of my colleagues, senator grassley, cornyn, tillis, perdue, lankford, cotton, and ernst will introduce a balanced proposal that tries to meet these requirements. i support the president's proposal and my colleagues' legislation to implement it. the secure and succeed act is
3:30 am
fair, addresses both sides' most pressing concerns, conforming to the conditions the president has put forward. it offers a compassionate resolution for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought to the united states as children. in exchange, this solution delivers funding for president trump's promise to fully secure the border, reforms our approach to extended family chain migration, and reallocates our arbitrary visa lottery into a more sensible merit-based system. this legislation is a fair compromise that addresses the stated priorities of all sides. it's our best chance to producing a solution that can actually resolve these matters. which requires that a bill pass the senate, pass the house, and earn the president's signature. it has my support. the time for political posturing is behind us. now we have