Sen. Alexander responds to Pres. Trump's address, offers solutions to shutdown
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander weighed in Wednesday morning on Pres. Donald Trump's Oval Office address.
In Trump's speech, he urged congressional Democrats to fund his long-promised border wall Tuesday night in a somber televised address, heavy with dark immigration rhetoric but offered little in the way of concessions or new ideas to break the standoff that has left large swaths of the government shuttered for 18 days.
Alexander's statement proposed three specific paths to end the partial government shutdown. His offering is below in its entirety.
When the president of the United States has a legitimate objective—which in this case is increased funding for border security, including a physical barrier—members of Congress should bend over backwards to accommodate it, especially when they've voted for that same policy in the past.
I've suggested three specific solutions for ending the partial government shutdown:
- Go small: Give the president the $1.6 billion he asked for in this year’s budget request, which the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee approved. Provide an additional $1 billion to improve border security at ports of entry, which everyone concedes is needed.
- Go bigger: Pass the bill that 54 senators—including 46 Democrats—voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years. The bill failed only because of last-minute White House opposition.
- Go really big: Begin the new Congress by creating a legal immigration system that secures our borders and defines legal status for those already here. In 2013, 68 senators — including all 54 Democrats — voted for such a bill, but the House refused to take it up. That bill included more than $40 billion and many other provisions to secure our borders.
Alexander revealed in December that he would not seek re-election in 2020 after serving more combined years (24 years, 9 months) as Governor (a position in which he held twice) and U.S. Senator than any other Tennessean.