tv U.S. Senate Sen. Leahy on Government Shutdown CSPAN January 10, 2019 3:05am-3:30am EST
so i say this to republican leaders. work with us to restore certainty to the american people from the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are being forced to forego their paychecks, to the small business owners, to the farmers and seniors and low-income families, and air traffic controllers and all those people whose lives are being unnecessarily thrown into chaos and deserve a fully functioning government. the president of the united states may be throwing a tantrum and playing political games but the people we represent and ourt country as a whole, deserve a whole lot better. thank you mr. president, i yield the floor. >> we're now in day 19 of the trump shutdown. 19 days that the federal government ofed the oldest democracy in the world's only superpower has been functioning on only half of its cylinders. and making us look ridiculous to
the rest of the world. i have spoken multiple times about the devastating impact this reckless and unnecessary shutdown is having on the federal workforce and domestic departments and agencies. the departments like homeland security, and agriculture, transportation, justice, interior and commerce, agencies likeus customs and border patro. the drug enforcement agency, and of course the national park service. these departments- and agencies have furloughed and stopped paying hundreds of thousands of employees who, as a result, are unable to do the job that millions and millions of american taxpayers depend on. hundreds of thousands more are working without pay. until the shutdown ends.
>> sen. leahy: the president who is a billionaire who's never been able to worry about paying the rent or the groceries says he can relate. well if he believes he can relate to what they're going through he's probably the only person in the world that believes that. programs are on hold. contracts being canceled, incidentally when these contracts are being canceled, the federal government is libel for penalties. government issueddowns don't save money. they cost billions of dollars and they have lasting consequences and who pays for the shutdown? the billions of dollars? the american taxpayers. and it's a disgrace. it's made even more so the fact that it's avoidable, were it not for the indifference, and
obsession of one person. president donald trump. we're all for border security. republicans and democrats are for border security. and there's already a billion dollars in prior appropriation for border security waiting to tibe spent. in fact we offered another $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2019, of course the white house says nothing about that. the president's obsession repeated on television last night wants a 30-foot high wall. mostly on desolate land that the government is going to have to seize from private owners along our southern border. the price tag to u.s. taxpayers would be $18 billion, likely mere. a campaign rally and campaign
rally a price tag he promised the american people that mexico would pay. he gave his word that mexico would pay. n'll, of course we know mexico won't pay. but there are multiple reasons why it's a terrible idea. why it won't stop migration and illicit drugs, and why it would be a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. i discussed that before, and i will again. t but i want to talk about the impact that trump shutdown is having not on the federal government's domestic programs and workforce, but it's impact on yeas national security and global leadership. it's worth asking, what made the united states world superpower in a global leader in the first place? one reason, of course, is our superior armed forces. that's, i suspect, the answer
president trump would give but it would only be partly correct. even more important the ideals enshrined in our constitution, our democratic constitutions, our branches of the government, and our regional global alliances and partnerships. and without these our men and women in uniform with would have precious little to defend. today, the global supremacy influenced the united states is being challenged by no time since the cold war. with the former soviet union. why? not look any further than 1600 pennsylvania avenue. in his first days in office president trump has disparaged f long-standing friends and allies, and been drawn from international agreements from past republican and democratic administrations. he's announced plans to drop
nonproliferation treaty. he's proposed drastic cuts to the operations and programs of the state department, and the u.s. agency for international development. which implement our foreign policy. and on top of all that, the state department like other federal departments, and agencies is swept up in the trump shutdown. so our choice is obvious. we can engage with the world, we can affirm our commitment to our ideals, engage by continued strength in our democratic institutions, by empowering our diplomats, and expanding our global alliances and partnerships. or, we can withdraw, even to the point of shutting down the federal government. we can see the global stage others, whose interests are ovadverse through our own.
we can become the simplistic -- anti-migrant hysteria. and a manufactured national security emergency. the president's of the country need a good shutdown. he said that. a good shutdown. well there's no such thing. not in the greatest country on earth. he said to be proud to take the mantle blame for shutting down the government. well the very next day when he realized he was being blamed for it he blamed democrats. he rejected our proposal to pass the six appropriations bills, that already receive overwhelming bipartisan support in the republican controlled senate. republican controlled senate, which is seen these bills pass with democrats and republicans.
mostit of those bills have nothg toic do with border security but the president is onstinently holding hostage programs funded in those bills including the paychecks for the people that implement them and it harms all americans. with the stroke of a pen the president could reopen the government, and continue negotiations on border security. sbuzz but he refuses, i stead e says flippantly the shutdown could last months, or even years. in the greatest nation on earth? he would diminish our nation every single day. and what is this reckless abuse of executive power mean for us? what has it meant for the diplomats of the state department and our embassies overseas whose job it is to protect our global interest, and tmaintain our alliances and partnerships to assist the millions of americans working,
studying, and serving overseas. to protect our security. as of yesterday, 34%, more than one-third of u.s. direct hire state department employees in washington and our embassies around the world have been furloughed. that's 10,000 employees at the state department alone are unable to do their job, and others are working without pay. what does that mean to our businesses? they want to seek help from whatever embassies abroad? what dud it mean when a citizen with a problem, a u.s. citizen with a problem abroad seeks help? there's nobody there. if the shutdown continues more paychecks will be withs held. the number furloughed employees
will increase. and there will be a parallel shutting down diplomacy of programs, and contracts, and our ability to engage with allies and adversaries. the affects are far-reaching. the burrow of diplomatic security run charter funds. forcing the state department to -- resources to keep other programs operating. in order to protect our diplomats and facilities overseas or eventually relying on unpaid contractors to protect u.s. interests. roughly 85% of the employees of the state department of office of inspector general have been furloughed. if you want to look at questions of waste, fraud, and abuse, that's ground to a halt. vietnam, a country of nearly 100 million people bordering
china is becoming a key security partner in the pacific region. but, thanks to the trump shutdown key employs at our embassy, and usa -- id were furloughed. now until the lights are still on the american flag is flying but that's about it. the is happens in every region in the world. the most powerful nation on earth -- the lights are on and nobody is working. this makes us a laughing stock of much of the world. for example, the state department of the u.s. embassies regularly use their social media accounts to update america's overseas of important developments that might potentially affect their safety. that was the case during the
recent tsunami in indonesia. what happens the next natural disaster, how does the state department respond? when americans abroad rely on this social media accounts, but they have fallen silent. and what about the loss of u.s. world stage. the most official travel suspended. how do we assure our priorities protect the next trade or international health summit. a lot of other countries might be happy to see the united states not there, because staten island they are the influential ones, not our country. what do you suppose the leaders of china, russia, iran, syria, and north korea, not to mention allies, like great britain, canada, and japan think about
this? i can almost see president putin, or president -- celebrating. what could be better than u.s. embassies operating on life support and u.s. diplomat sideline, or the u.s. government is shutdown or building a wall across our southwest desert. just think about that. we're shutha down, we can't enge in critical diplomacy around the world, why? well we are kind of distracted by putting a wall somewhere in the desert. can you imagine how that makes usus look to the rest of the world? president trump think the rest of the world -- to the u.s.
government reopens. the opposites is going to happen. they are going to take advantage of ways that will not be short-lived. a massive humanitarian crises and perils of millions of people in yemen, central america, venezuela, the white house, is embracing a diminishing role for the united states. russia medmedicalles in our elections. iaina buys allegiance to countries in africa, asia andan our own hemisphere by investing billions in ports and transportation projects. our state department is shutting down programs, and setting our people home. it's not just in the state department. usa-id, peace cope corps. they're all furloughing
personnel. they are canceling new activities. we are saying to countries we should be competing with, okay, we give up, you take over, you be the great country. what is happening? and with the exception of u.s. military this drags on the united states won't be a superpower or they will in name only. exaggeration, don't bet on it. while our diplomats are furloughed, president use upon congress already provided for border security. funds we have provided for border security that the administration hasn't spent. the president is threatened to ignore the legislative process, to declear national emergency when none exists and ordered the pentagon to payan for the wall. the wall that he gave his word and swore that mexico would pay
for. well -- it's such a flag aren't unwarranted use of authority that circumvented the process. of course it's going to be challenged in the congress and courts. regardless of what happens, what does that say to the rest of the world about our commitment to democracy? how would he be perceived outside his country, particularly by autocrats in syria, and saudi arabia, the philippines, brazil, egypt, russia, hungry, poland or china? well, the actions of a leader and in the past -- leader of the former chief democracy in this
world it would be e-- a green light by clearing a state of emergency and wielding unchecked executive power without regard for the legislature. or judiciaries, and they can do virtually anything as we've seen the countries do. they shut down the independent press, arresting judges and opposition political leaders. using the army to police the l streets. closing the borders. all in the name of a manufactured national emergency and they're going to look at the united states. and this is already happening. look at guatemala. they pretend to be a democracy, but their president, president morales is opening to find ruling by the constitutional court magistrates who are courageously defending the institution that justice -- they're underassault and the police are ignoring orders of their attorney general.
inegeipt, the president has locked up tens of thousands of political opponents and other disdents. in turkey, the president has done the same. and who do they get praise from? who praises them when they do this? ah, president trump. in brazil, the president former military officer has vowed to open up the amazon to mining, logging and agri-business. the damage now do to the rest of the world. he wants to give the police a free hand to use deadly lethal force with impunity. he's giving up to crack down on civil liberties, and where does his applause come from? the white house. no one disputes that the united states has experienced national
emergencies. we face a potentially exostential threat. look at pearl harbor, the 9/11 attacks, even the cuban missile crisis could have been. or a future deadly disease that affects thousands of americans. that rapidly suppress out of control. that might qualify for an emergency. but the president talks as though the sky is falling in texas, but any rational person recognizes that the situation on our southwest border is not remotely a national emergency. to call central american families poverty and violence a threat to the security of the world's wealthiest most powerful country, it's wrong, it's an embarrassment. and especially when the border patrol'sone data shows a number of migrants apprehended at the
southern border as plummeted over the past ten years. and the white house grasping for arguments that justify the president's broken campaign promise of mexico paid for his wall. he's played fast and loose on the facts, and desperate attempt to incite fear among the american people. and i guess to distract the american people from the fact that the president broke his word. the president, and those vice president and others have shamelessly tru.ed all kinds of wildly inaccurate statistics about terrorists, and illegal drugs and these so-called facts are contradicted by their own agencies. in our own government. the white house has thousands of migrant terrorists have been apprehended.
falsely suggesting they were stopped at the mexican border. almost none of them were. we face a farorm al qaeda and is using social media to inspire extremists already in the u.s. or canada to commit terrorist acts. the last thing anyone would do is genuinely concern about terrorism, if the shutdown our government agencies whose job it is to track down and arrest those people. you can't say we fear terrorists, but we're going to have the money and closed down the agencies that are supposed to go after them. the real threat to our national security is shutting down the government. furloughing 10,000 state department employees. tell your embassies to cancel programs, and tell your diplomats to stay home. while we come to grips with practical ways to strengthen our
borders, so we can get humanly assistedwe migrants. we need to stay focused to our real threat of national security. we need our embassy to -- we need our diplomats in the room and european russia chinese, scene, south korean and african counterparts. we need to strengthen nato. so we can rely on partners to support us about real emergencies around the world. we need to expand our cybersecurity. nonproliferation, international broadcasting, other public diplomacy, internet, and freedom programs, military education in enforcement, other international assistance programs. instead, because of the president's obsession with this wall across the desert these and
other state department programs are stuck in neutral. the people who implement them are at home and our security is diminished. we need to ask like a spro power for nate o and many other regional organizes where decisions decisions are made that directly affect our security. none o of this is possible durig a government shutdown. you shut down over each passing day grows a democracy weakens our global leadership, and threatens our security. and we all know republicans and democrats know this. the american people know this. the world knows this. the president needs to reopen the government, start acting like thet, defender of the constitution, and of our national security. the defender of the country needs. so how do we take care of this? well i would again urge the
republican leader, let the senate vote on the bipartisan, six-bill mini-bus who passed he and the entire republican caucus should urge the president to sign it. because it would pass. it's republican-leader brought up this bill to open the government, it would pass. it's something senator shelby worked so hard on and we have almost unanimous agreement with republicans and democrats on it. it would pass. all they would have to do is bring it up. because remember that isus our zon. we are an independent coequal branch of government. we're supposed to vote and appropriate the funds so the federal government can work for all the american people. it is not our job as senators to sit on the sidelines while the wheels of governments grind to a halt because the president is
recklessly holding it hostage. let's do our job. let the senate be the conscience of the nation. let us pass these bills. they would pass easily, let's urge the president to sign them if they do, and get ourk government back and open. stop looking like a petulant child to the rest of the world. let us be the superpower we can be. >> i rise today to set the record straight on the president's border wall. quite frankly, something he didn't talk about much last night, during a speech to the country, but the truth is this isis where the problem is. so i want to talk about it a little bit today. the president made it crystal clear dozens of times in fact, that he was prepared to shut the government down in order to