tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN January 15, 2019 9:59am-12:32pm EST
and earlier in her career she taught english at el paso and one of two latina representatives elected by voters. and representative garcia 29th district served in the state senate. before that a number of elected and appointed positions, including on harris county commission and city comptroller. and sent attorney lizzie fletcher to the house. the first time the 7th has elected a democrat since it was constituted in 1967 on the west side of houston. the first member to hold the seat was future president george h.w. bush. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. >> and we'll be taking you live now to the u.s. senate here on c-span2. senators continuing consideration of a bill that
would provide military assistance to israel and put new sanctions on syria, also today expecting democrats to call for a vote on starting debate on a measure that would disapprove of the treasury department lifting sanctions on three russian companies. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, rescue us. come quickly and bring the stability and unity we need. may our lawmakers who seek you find you, receiving from your divine presence wisdom, mercy, and power.
cleanse the inner fountains of our hearts from anything that will hinder your will from being done. lord, you are our helper and redeemer. do not delay. we pray in your powerful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in the please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand there is a bill at the desk due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: an act making appropriations for the department of the interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2019, and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: i would place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14. i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar.
mr. mcconnell: madam president, i move to proceed to s. 1. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of s. 1, a bill to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: madam president, over the course of this partial government shutdown, we've seen our democratic colleagues engage in increasingly acrobatic contortions in order to dodge a serious conversation about the urgent humanitarian and security crisis down at our southern border. their refusal to come to the negotiating table has serious implications for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers going without pay and for all americans who deserve a nation that can secure its own border. along the way we've heard that the new funding of any sort -- any sort -- of border barrier,
even the kinds that democrats have supported so recently and so often, would now be, quote, an immorality -- an immorality. we've heard serious proposals brushed aside with joking offers of $1 to address the critical issue. we've even heard frank admissions that 30 days from now there would be no progress toward an agreement on border security, even if the government were reopened. under normal circumstances, we would expect lines like these from the fartherrest left organizers and most liberal protesters, but these are not normal circumstances, and these are the words, believe it or not, of the speaker of the house
, the gentlelady from california, nancy pelosi. it's unclear exactly what the speaker -- when the speaker made the determination that the explicit requests of the men and women who secure our borders and the safety of american communities would take a back seat to the political whims of the far left; that the border security efforts toward which democrats have agreed to direct billions of dollars in the past have transformed overnight into something evil. but here we are, day 25. we know the new and unreasonable position of the speaker of the house. so here in the senate my democratic colleagues have an important choice to make. they could stand with common
sense with border experts, with federal workers, and with their own past voting records, by the way; or they could continue to remain passive spectators complaining from the sidelines, as the speaker refuses to negotiate with the white house. and ensure our nation keeps going around and around and around this political carousel. it is up to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. now, on another matter, the substance of the border security issue is not the only subject that is occasioning a spectacular display of inconsistences from my colleagues across the aisle. you'll recall, madam president, since last week, the apparent position of senate democrats has been that the senate itself
cannot engage in any of the people's business until the government funding is resolved. democrats have held this position so dogmatically that three times now they've voted against advancing a bipartisan and urgently needed package of legislation that concerns israel, jordan, and the civil war in syria. it's been the democrats' very own senate shutdown, on top of the partial government shutdown they're prolonging. what about our ally israel? what about the innocent people of syria? i guess they're just out of luck, just out of luck. the democratic leader has made clear they'll just have to wait, just have to wait. until he decides to end this
filibuster of these bipartisan bills, which until last week, by the way, he supported. it's a bizarre position, truly bizarre position. it's directly contradicted the state foreign policy views of many of our democratic colleagues, but this has been the democratic leader's position filibuster the expanded assistance for israel, filibuster the new consequences for giving aid and comfort to the assad regime as it butchers its own people. that's what the democratic caucus has overwhelmingly voted toward on three owe -- voted to do on three occasions. but now we're informed that it was all just a farce. the democratic leader doesn't actually mind doing other business -- other business --
because he now intends to bring a privileged and political stunt of a motion relating to the administration's use of sanctions against russia. so now, madam president, at least we know the score. our democratic colleagues don't really object to senate action as such. as such. they just objected to debating a bipartisan package of bills to reinforce our support for israel, help jordan stand firm amidst regional chaos, and take action to hold accountable those who have tortured and murdered countless -- countless -- syrian civilians. there's no reason this bill shouldn't sail through congress and be signed by the president. a bipartisan bill to support israel, defend jordan, and provide justice for innocent syrians -- that's what the democratic leader is filibustering. but a partisan motion on an
unrelated foreign policy issue? oh, he's perfectly happy to see it come right here to the floor for a vote. like i said, madam president, at least we know the score. so here's my commitment to israel and to jordan and to the syrian people. i will continue to force these cynical tactics into the light of day. democrats may vote a fourth time or a fifth time to filibuster these bipartisan bills, even as they turn the senate toward other business, but republicans will not abandon the need for american leadership in the world. so now, on one final matter, today our colleagues on the judiciary committee will begin nomination hearings for william barr, the distinguished civil servant president bush has asked
to serve as the nation's next attorney general. certainly no one needs me to explain all the reasons this is a vital position. the department of justice is charged with duties sump as protecting -- such as protecting americans' civil rights, defending the public order to which citizens are entitled, and upholding the time-honored tradition that the united states of america is a nation governed by law. so it is the nation's good fortune, our good fortune, that the president has selected such a completely qualified and thoroughly prepared leader to fill this vacancy. first and foremost, of course, is the fact that bilobar has served in the position before -- bill barr has served in the position before as attorney general under president bush 41 in the early 1990's. he fulfilled his oath and led the department of justice with honor and with skill. he was widely regarded as a capable administrator and as a strong, independent, and
principled advocate for fairness and for following the law. his tenure confirmed. great confidence that republican and democratic senators had all placed in him when they confirmed him to that position unanimously. democrats controlled the senate in 1991. democrats controlled the senate in 1991. that's when he was confirmed. because of bill barr's obvious credentials and unquestioned reputation, confirmed on a voice vote. boy, those were the good ol' days. i admit the proceedings our distinguished colleague senator leahy expressed confidence that mr. barr would, quote, be an independent voice for all americans. then senator joe biden -- then-senator joe biden, chairman of the judiciary committee, put it this way at the time -- quote, he's a heck of an
honorable guy. 28 years ago leading democrats were practically heading up to the bill bill barr fan club ands convent service proved that he made the right call. in fact, madam president, this nominee has been unanimously confirmed by the senate three times -- three times. before serving as attorney general, he worked as an assistant attorney general and a deputy attorney general. in no case did even a single senator identify a good reason to oppose his confirmation. three times unanimously. so it's beyond safe to say that mr. barr is imminently qualified and widely respected. i look forward to his testimony today and to the testimony of those who know him and his work. i hope every senator will afford mr. barr the fair consideration he so obviously deserves.
mr. schumer: madam president, are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, as the trump shutdown drags on, more and more americans are getting hurt. public servants have been working without pay. critical agencies are unable to
perform the functions they are supposed to to perform for the american people. whether that's inspecting food supply, protecting our airports and prisons, helping farmers and small businesses get loans, we're now approaching tax season with the i.r.s. under severe limitations. when will the president's ridiculous manufactured crisis come to an end? i have three words for president trump, leader mcconnell, and our republican senators: open the government. we can debate border security. we've debated it for a month and a half. we haven't come to a conclusion. open the government, and we can debate border security while the government is open. now for weeks, as i said, we've been at a standstill. we've offered the president several ways to uncouple his demand for a border wall from a
government shutdown. the president has been obstinate, insisting on a $5.7 billion wall he promised that mexico would pay for. the few times that his deputies -- vice president, chief of staff -- have made proposals to democrats, the president contradicted them soon thereafter. just yesterday the president flatly refused to consider a proposal from his close ally in the senate, senator graham, to open the government temporarily while we debate border security. sadly, neither republicans in congress nor the president's own staff seemed willing to tell him what everyone else already knows: the president does not have the votes in either house of congress for his expensive, ineffective wall. the reason we've been unable to make progress is that president trump is not yet interested in making progress. so there's only one person who
can help america break through this gridlock. leader mitch mcconnell. for the past month leader mcconnell has been content to hide behind the president, essentially giving him a veto over what comes to the floor of the senate. it has put him in the ridiculous position of refusing to consider legislation to reopen the government that nearly every senate republican has voted for. legislation that leader mcconnell has proudly voted for, legislation that the american people favor by a two to one margin, including nearly 40% of republicans. the american people suffering the dire consequences of the shutdown can no longer afford to wait for the president to come around. the president must be shown the will of the congress, and i believe that if leader mcconnell were to put the house-passed bills on the floor they would receive a significant majority in the senate, a veto-proof majority. so i would appeal to leader mcconnell, do what's right for the country. do what's right for hundreds of
thousands of federal employees laboring without pay. do what's right for our farmers and small businesses, homeowners and taxpayers. do what's right for america. president trump may not care about the harm he's doing to all these people, but our republican senators, including leader mcconnell, should. a few years ago leader mcconnell remarked, remember me? i'm the guy that gets us out of shutdowns. well, leader mcconnell, now's the time. leader mcconnell, allow a vote on legislation and reopen the government. in a short time a few of my democratic colleagues will ask the senate for that chance. will leader mcconnell help us reopen the government? will some of our republican senators actually join us, not in nice words but in actually voting to reopen the government? or will leader mcconnell block it yet again, aiding and abetting president trump's desire to extend this government shutdown? and president trump, one final
point here -- president trump thinks if he holds out long enough, he'll win the fight with the american people. every day he's losing. the gallup poll today had him at a near record low of 37% popularity. even some of his base is losing face. president trump, you're not going to win this fight with the american people. every day it drags on, you are less popular. every day it drags on, people blame you and the republicans, not the democrats. you're not winning the fight. you may be in your own untruth bubble, but you're not winning the fight. everyone knows that. we certainly do. on another matter, as we speak, the senate judiciary committee is conducting its hearing on the nomination of william barr to be the next attorney general of the united states. it's an august position that demands the highest degree of credibility, transparency and fidelity to the rule of law, even during a normal presidency. but given president trump's actions, his disdain for rule
of law, his derision of the rulings of an independent judiciary, his public contempt for law enforcement procedures of the justice department, the burden of proof for william barr is higher than it would be for other presidents. this is not a normal presidency. we don't need an attorney general who will just comply with this president. that's a danger to the republic. the senate should expect unequivocal and explicit commitments from mr. barr to resist president trump. mr. barr cannot merely give per funkry boiler -- per funktorrey assurances. will he not interfere in any way with mueller's investigation as opposed to saying he likes mueller and thinks he's doing a good job. if mr. mueller -- if mr. barr can't say yes that he will not
interfere in any way with the mueller investigation, he doesn't deserve the job, particularly in light of his writings. we should expect unequivocal commitments from barr to defend the integrity of the f.b.i. and our federal law enforcement officers. not vague statements that give him plenty of wiggle room to do president trump's dirty work if he gets to be attorney general. and we should expect an unequivocal commitment from mr. barr to allow the special investigation to proceed and conclude without any underlying, any interference. one last point, the expectations from mr. barr are even more demanding given the recent revelation that he wrote a detailed unsolicited memo to the justice criticizing the mueller investigation despite having no knowledge of its workings. the memo revealed that barr holds an astonishingly broad almost empirical view of executive power. that should also be a serious
line of inquiry for our colleagues on the judiciary committee. the next attorney general will take charge of a justice department that is embroiled, been embroiled in near constant chaos for two years at a critical moment for our democracy. the senate should only approve an attorney general of unimpeachable integrity, unimpeachable if i delty to the rule of law -- fidelity to the rule of law with a president who has the worst impulses we have had. finally on russia sanctions, later this afternoon the senate will move to consider a motion to proceed to a resolution of disapproval on the treasury department's proposal to relax sanctions on three companies owned and control by sanction russian ol' -- oligarch d re isposka. it fails to limit his stake in the three companies.
it merely reduces his ownership to 45%. many u.s. companies are heavily influenced by an owner who controls much less than a 45% share. why didn't they reduce it to 10% or 15%? but they didn't. treasury's plan also allows for russian shareholders with family and business ties to deriposka to retain control interest. so treasury does not come close to going far enough. beyond the weak terms of the deal, the senate must consider that deriposka has deep ties to president putin and his intelligence apparatus, organized crime and mr. paul manafort, the subject of the special counsel's investigation. it is deeply suspect that the donald trump administration would propose relief before he
finished his work. we should not allow sanction relief for president putin's trusted agents or the companies they control before the conclusion of the investigation. and finally and maybe most seriously of all, there is a foreign policy issue here at stake. president putin's government, one of russia's largest banks in the russian economy, have a direct interest in sanction relief for deriposka's companies. why is the trump administration proposings sanctions reef relieve? this morning my friend from kentucky called this a political stump and a farce. that's appalling. after all putin has done, this is a stunt and a farce? the underlying -- and why are we doing it now? he said why are democrats doing it? because the underlying law that allows for this resolution has a 30-day alarm clock on it. the alarm clock goes off
thursday. democrats are not forcing this vote. the law is. i'd say to the leader, democrats were not the ones who decided to relax sanctions on putin's cronies just before the christmas holiday hoping no one would notice. that was the trump administration. if leader mcconnell wants to know why we're voting on russian sanctions this afternoon, he should go talk to the white house. so allow me to appeal directly to my republican colleagues. whatever your view on this issue, there are enough questions, enough questions that we should vote for the motion to proceed so that you can hear the debate. it's an important debate. putin is laughing with the damage he is doing to america. we cannot go along. and in the past one of the finer moments of this senate, which leader mcconnell talks about all the time, was when we joined in a bipartisan way to impose sanctions on russia. well, we should not relax that view. we should not relax that
vigilance. the details here are complex. the senate and the american people ought to have a real understanding of the facts before voting. if that debate is allowed to proceed, i believe my senate colleagues will see the wisdom of keeping the current sanctions in place. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: madam president, i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, democrats continue to talk about the need to fully reopen the government, and i could not agree with them more. it's time to end this partial shutdown and to get the government fully operating again. but there's a problem.
democrats may talk a lot about the need to reopen the government, but they're not willing to do the work that would be required to actually get the government open. madam president, in a divided government, negotiation and compromise are essential. you want to get something done in a divided government, you have to compromise. but that doesn't seem to be something that the democrats understand. for democrats, it's my way or the highway. they won't give an inch. they want their way, and they want their way only. now, madam president, all of us would like to get our proposals passed exactly as we want them, with no changes, but we all know that that's unrealistic. if you want to get something done, you usually have to compromise. the white house has a strongly held position but has also made it very clear that it's willing to be flexible and to negotiate with democrats. but, madam president, the democrats refuse to play ball,
and they continue to hold parts of the federal government hostage. now, you just heard our colleague from new york, the democrat leader, suggest that it should be that the republican leader, senator mcconnell's job to solve this problem. but the fact of the matter is -- and we all know this -- that the negotiation in this circumstance has got to be between the president of the united states and the democrats in the senate and the house, who have refused to bogon that position. the -- to budge on that position. the majority leader made it clear that he will move a bill through the united states senate that we can get to the president and end this shutdown, get the government open again and fund border security, which is an important priority for our country and for our national security interests. now, that is a position until recently, madam president, that was also held by the democrats
-- the democrat leader as recently as december indicated that that to solve this budget stalemate, this impasse that we seem to be having, that you need to have the support of both leaders in both the house and the senate before either chamber should vote on legislation. he suggested the president needed to come out publicly in support of it, in other words, to indicate that he would sign any legislation that might move. so that's where we are. it's not a function of the republican leader. the republican leader is prepared to produce the votes that are necessary to pass legislation to reopen the government. it is entirely dependent on the president of the united states, who must sign that bill into law, and the democrats here in the senate, who have to produce the necessary requisite number of democrats, to get the 60 votes that are required to pass in the senate. so, madam president, that's where we are. and frankly, right now there
isn't a negotiation going on. the democrats refusal -- the democrats' refusal to negotiate is victimizing the very workers that they want to protect. the federal workers that are struggling right now are struggling precisely because democrats are refusing to work with this president. and that has a lot more to do with politics than it has to do with the issue itself. madam president, democrats need to negotiate with the white house to reopen the government. but they should also want to work with the white house on border security solutions. border security is a national security imperative. no country can be secure if dangerous individuals can creep across its borders and observe. and democrats used to understand this. in 2006, the democratic leader and the ranking member of the senate judiciary committee voted for legislation to authorize a border fence. they were joined in their vote
by then-senator biden, then-senator clinton, and then-senator obama. in 2013, every senate democrat -- every senate democrat supported legislation requiring the completion of a 700-mile fence along our southern border. this legislation would have provided $46 billion for border security and $8 billion specifically for a physical barrier. as recently as last year, nearly every senate democrat supported $25 billion in border security. my point, madam president, is that the democrats here in the senate have in the past recognized the importance, one, of securely the border and, two, how important a physical barrier is as a part of the solution to securing our border; not entirely dependent on a border wall but certainly part of that solution to include technological solutions,
manpower, additional personnel, cameras, spencer, all the modern -- sensors, all the modern technology that we have, but recognizing that the fence works, and the fence has worked for the fencing already on the southern border. and i would point out that in 2509, the senate -- in 2009, the senate democratic leader said that any solution must recognize that we must do as much as possible to gain control of our borders. he went on to discuss, interestingly enough, progress that had been made on border security between 2005 and 2009, including, and i quote, construction of 630 miles of border fence that create a figure barrier to illegal immigration on our southern land border, end quote. that from the democrat leader in 2009, again crediting the construction of 630 miles of border fence that create a significant barrier to illegal
immigration on our southern land border. in other words, madam president, in 2009, the democrat leader not only didn't oppose border fences, he praised them. madam president, the fact of the matter is, our border is not secure. tens of thousands of individuals try to cross our southern border illegally each month. illegal drugs flow into this country through ports of entry and unsecured areas of the border. federal agents have seen a 115% increase in the amount of fentanyl seized between ports of entry. 30% of the heroin supply in this country -- i should say, 90% of the heroin supply in this country, 90%, flows across our southern border. and then there's human traffic, weapons trafficking, and more. we need better border security, more barriers, technology and
personnel along our southern border. we need to know who's coming into our country and why. and we need to ensure that we keep criminals, traffickers, terrorists and dangerous goods out of this country. madam president, house majority leader steny hoyer was asked about the democrats' flip-flop on border security, whether there is any real difference between what they supported in the past and what they're opposing now. and here's what he said, and i quote -- i don't have an answer that i think is a really good answer, unquote. i don't have an answer that i think is a really good answer. well, madam president, at least that's honest. democrats don't have a good answer because there is no real difference between what they've supported in the past and what they're opposing right now. madam president, before
christmas, i came down to talk on the floor to talk about the divided government we'd be dealing with in 2019 and 2020. i noted that divided government doesn't have to spell the doom of productivity. over the past 30-plus year, some of our greatest legislative achievements have been the product of the divided government. but i also noted that in order for us to be productive in the 116th congress, democrats would have to decide to work with us. and so far they've decided not to. in addition to refusing to negotiate on border security, senate democrats have also blocked the senate from considering legislation to support israel's security, strengthen our relationship with our jordanian allies, and hold accountable individuals who participated in the atrocities of the assad regime in syria. madam president, despite our divided government, we can still accomplish important things for the american people. but it's going to require an
about-face from democrats, who have so far made the is 1 -- made the 116th congress about partisanship and their hostility towards this president. it is time to take steps that would actually commit to real negotiations with the white house. then and only then can we get past this impasse, get the government opening and functioning, and address what is a critical and important national security imperative for our country. it is not about republicans in the senate, madam president. it is about the president of the united states, for whom this is a huge priority, something that he is passionate about doing, and a commitment he made to the american people. and it is about the democrats here in the united states senate and in the house -- but here in the united states senate, where
it takes 60 votes to pass anything, to sit down across the table from the president in good faith and to do what usually happens in circumstances like this, and that is to negotiate an agreement, where both sides give a little bit, with a little give and take. as i mentioned, the president has been very flexible, very open, to sitting down with democrats. in the discussions that i have been a part of, he's demonstrated his willingness to compromise. but i have yet to see a single step by the democrats here in the senate or in the house in their leadership, a single move -- a single inch of movement in the direction of trying to solve this problem. instead, they seem bent on turning it into a political issue. that's not good for the american people. it's certainly not good for those employees who are struggling out there because they're not being paid. and it's certainly not good for the crisis that we face at our southern border and the threat
-- the security threat that it poses for the american people. madam president, i hope that we will do better. we can do better. but it's going to require negotiations. it's going to require a willingness to sit down at the table in good faith and to get discussions going about how we solve this important problem. madam president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i'm here with my colleague, senator van hollen. the two of us are going to make a unanimous consent request to reopen government. let me just say -- i know the distinguished majority leader is here -- we are on day 25 of this tragic, outrageous, needless, and dangerous partial shutdown. senator van hollen and i have met with government workers, and we have heard their account. they can't pay their bills. mortgages are going without payment. i heard yesterday from a federal worker that they can't pay their children's extra activities at school for dance lessons. they can't help their relatives deal with their problems, that they are postponing needed health treatment issues. i read last week on the floor of this body a letter from kristen jones and bad starkey, air
traffic controllers, who explain how they can't take care of their family needs. 800,000 people are furloughed without pay or working without pay. 30% are veterans. small businesses are shuttering their operations because they depend upon government workers for their business, from cleaners to restaurants are finding that they don't have the business they used to have. kevin hassett, chairman of the white house council on economic advisors, indicates the economic impact is $1.2 billion per week on our economy. we have heard about small businesses that have to shutter their employees because they are not getting federal partnerships. i use the example of senior services of america. 186 employees they laid off because the usda and forest service can't honor the contracts. this is not -- people can't close on their home mortgages because they don't have pay stubs that show their income.
the f.h.a. can't certify loans under h.u.d. being shuttered. core missions are being compromised. i talked to air traffic controllers yesterday, people in air safety. they don't have their full complement. they are doing -- they are professionals. we have the most professional government workforce in the world, and they are dedicated professionals who are going to do their job, but we are asking them to do it with half the number of employees and without getting a paycheck. that's outrageous. so, mr. president, this shutdown has to end. the president wants it. we're an independent body. we're a coequal branch of government. we could open up the government. yes, we can negotiate border security, but we have to have government open. you can't negotiate under circumstances where the president is holding the country hostage and he undermines his own negotiators. it cries out for congress to take the lead. i agree with senator graham when he says that we should open government and then let us
negotiate using the regular process of congress to debate the issues of border security, including immigration issues. we are a coequal branch of government. two bills are on our desk. both have passed the house of representatives. i'm going to make a unanimous consent with regards to h.r. 21, and my colleague, senator van hollen, will deal with the rest of government. h.r. 21, there are six appropriation bills. six appropriation bills that are not related to the issue of border security. they have already been acted upon by this body. they are not part of this dispute. it's financial services and general government. it's agriculture. it's interior and environment. it's transportation and h.u.d. it's state and foreign operations. it's commerce, justice, science. they passed this body either by a 92-6 vote for the appropriations committee or unanimous or near unanimous by
our appropriations committee under republican leadership in a bipartisan manner. we need to reopen government. so therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 5, h.r. 21, making appropriations for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2019. i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and that a motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. cardin: mr. president, i just say in response to my distinguished majority leader, i just don't understand why the united states senate is missing in action. we're a coequal branch of government. let us speak about opening government. there are members on both sides who understand that we can
debate border security and we can reach agreements, but you can't do that with a partial government shutdown. this is president trump's shutdown, and now with the majority leader's objections, the republicans in the senate are assisting this shutdown. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: let me repeat again what i have said now for some three weeks. the solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the united states, and our democratic colleagues. for the senate republicans to participate in something that doesn't lead to an outcome strikes me as not what the senate ought to be involved in. we have got an important package of bills that have been held up during the senate shutdown on top of the government shutdown
related to our colleagues -- our friends in the middle east, the israelis, related to the syrian civil war and all the atrocities that have occurred. there is business to be done here in the senate. the way to solve the government shutdown is for the administration and our good friends in the house, in the majority, and senate democrats to reach a legislative solution. when that happens, i'll be more than happy to call it up because we know we'll actually solve the problem. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: very briefly in response to my friend, the first priority should be reopening government. that needs to be our very first priority of business. and in regards to the legislation the leader is referring to, let me point out that those bills could have been passed in the last congress where the republicans controlled both the house and the senate, but the majority leader made a
decision on floor time that it was not a priority to be considered in the 115th congress. and let me also say in regards to israel, bill bennett from thm the foreign ops bill being passed which was part of my unanimous consent request, an additional $200 million that is being held up because of this shutdown caused by the president, now assisted by the republicans in the senate. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland is recognized. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mr. van hollen: the issue here is that the senate really does need to do its job under the united states constitution as a separate and coequal branch of government. now last week senator cardin and i were right where we are today, here on the floor of the senate, asking consent that the senate immediately take up and vote on the two house bills that are on the senate calendar as we
speak, and pass them and send them to the president to reopen the government. last week the majority leader blocked a vote on that. he blocked consent to take up those bills to reopen the government. since last week, much has changed. much has also stayed the same. here's what's changed. the impact and harm of the shutdown is growing by the day. it's me taft -- metastasizing around the country. here are headlines: the cascade of shutdown grows each week. this is ridiculous. small business owners can't get loans as shutdown enters day 20. that was day 20. we're now on day 25. f.b.i. operations damaged as shutdown continues. f.b.i. agents groups says shutdown affects law enforcement. they point out it's putting those on the job at greater risk because those who are furloughed that support them can't give
them the backup they need. f.d.a. continues to not do their routine food inspections. american veterans -- veterans make up 30% of the federal workforce -- they are being disproportionately hurt by the shutdown. we just heard reported that the white house economists are doubling their estimate of the harm done to our economy each week. it's already in billions of dollars, and they're saying it looks like it will be twice that much as this thing grows exponentially. services shutdown for our american people, 800,000 federal employees as of last friday got pay stubs like the one i'm holding in my hand. this is one that was for an air traffic controller.
starting friday, friday 800,000 federal employees are not getting paychecks. hundreds of thousands of them are on the job working. hundreds of thousands of them have been locked out of work. and what they tell us is they just want to get back to work and do their job for the american people. if you look at this pay stub, look at net pay, it says zero. big fat goose egg. i can tell you these federal employees are getting bills. they're getting their mortgage bills. they're getting their rent payments. they don't say zero. they stay the same. and so here you've got 800,000 federal employees who are unable to make do. missing mortgage payments, missing rent payments, missing their monthly installments on community college payments. and on top of that, you have all these small businesses that do work for the federal government who are beginning to
go belly-up and their employees are being told not to come in to work. so since senator cardin and i were here on the floor just last week, things have gotten much worse around the country. but here's what stayed the same, mr. president. what stayed the same is we have it in our power today to take up two house bills to open the government. now i was listening to the majority leader saying, well, you know, the president says he's not going to sign it. but we are a separate branch of government. we are the article 1 branch of government. and i'm holding in my hand right here the bill that senator cardin asked us to vote on today. i think the public needs to know what's in it because what's in it has already been supported overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis by this united states senate. here's what's in this bill.
it's got provisions to open about five departments to the u.s. government that have nothing to do with homeland security. we passed that by a vote of 92-6. 92-6. the president says he doesn't want to sign it, and he can veto it. 92-6, that's veto override big time. it's also contained in here bills that passed the senate appropriations committee by a vote of 30-0 and 30-1. so that's what's in here. bipartisan bills. and so the question for this body as a separate branch of government is, why in the world are we not going to allow a vote to reopen government on provisions that we've already agreed to on an overwhelming
bipartisan basis? in fact, a veto-proof margin. so the president can say that he's not going to sign it. that's his business. that's the executive branch. but for goodness sakes, let's do our job here in the united states senate because every day that goes by in this growing harm, this senate is more and more complicit, and we are an accomplice in the shutdown. now i know president trump likes to talk about the fact that he's done things that no other president has done before in the history of the united states. well, this time he's right. he's got the longest shutdown of any president of the united states. he said he would be proud to shut down the government if he didn't get his way. i know that no senator here, republican or democrat, is proud to shut down the government certainly for the
longest period in history. so let's do the right thing. let's do our job and stop just saying the president is the only one who can handle this. we can handle it. and i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 6, h.j. res. 1, making further continuing appropriations for the department of homeland security. i further ask that the joint resolution be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
hfer the ner -- the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i have a request for committees to meet. they've been approved by both the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cornyn: i'll with hold noting the withdrawing the quorum call.