Leadership Responds After President Donald Trump Announced an Agreement to Reopen Government
United States Congress

January 26, 2019 by TWN Staff

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“Congress has a responsibility to reach a compromise that funds the government and addresses key humanitarian and immigration challenges facing our nation.  Today President Trump demonstrated yet again that he is willing to be flexible and negotiate a solution to end the government shutdown. It’s high time Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi end their blockade and come to the table to work out a solution that funds the government for the remainder of the fiscal year and addresses the border crisis. Saying ‘no’ to every compromise proposal put forth by the president without providing a counterproposal that can be agreed to by all sides isn’t leadership, it’s abdication. And the American people are paying the price. The final package should also end government shutdowns once and for all.”

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

“For weeks, I’ve stated that I wouldn’t let the Senate become a theater for show votes and messaging stunts from either side. We’d only vote on plans that stood an actual chance of being signed by the president and thus becoming law.

“So I was glad to see today the president’s announcement that he and Democrats have reached an agreement that will immediately re-open the government, while providing the room to negotiate a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Further, negotiations on DHS will be prioritized over consideration of any other funding bills. And with cooperation, we can pass legislation opening the government and send the DHS appropriations bill to a conference with the House today.

“I’m glad the closed portions of the federal government will re-open and get back online. I’m glad that the dedicated men and women of the Coast Guard, law enforcement, the TSA, and all the other federal employees will not have to go longer without pay for their work, and will receive their back pay. I know the pain that this episode has caused to many Kentuckians and to people around the country. They deserve this resolution.

“Going forward, I hope Democrats will stay true to the commitment they have stated constantly over the past weeks – that once government was re-opened, they would be perfectly willing to negotiate in good faith on full-year government funding that would include a significant investment in urgently needed border security measures, including physical barriers.

“After all, the only way that federal workers are going to have stability and certainty beyond the next three weeks, the only way our border is going to have real security, is if Democrats will stop playing partisan games and get serious about negotiating with the president on a long-term compromise. The days ahead will tell us whether my Democratic colleagues are actually serious about securing our nation; whether they actually mean what they say. The president called on the Senate to act on these proposals, and now that there is an agreement between Democrats and the White House, we can make that happen.”

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)

“Shutdowns are bad politics and even worse government. Democrats say they’re for stronger border security. It’s time for them to get to the table. And then this process should be done through the normal structure. The president has a clear responsibility to secure the border and if Democrats cooperate we won’t end up in a place where this is done through declaring an emergency. That precedent could create real problems in the future on other issues.”

Senator Todd Young (R-IN)

“The President’s announcement today is an encouraging step forward. I will continue working with the President and my colleagues in the Senate to advance policies that keep our government funded, secure our border, and protect our national security.”

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

“The longest shutdown in American history will finally end, today. The president has agreed to our request to open the government and then debate border security, which is great news for 800,000 federal workers and millions of Americans who depend on government services.

I want to thank President Trump and Leader McConnell.

As just outlined, we have agreed to pass a clean three-week continuing resolution to reopen the government. Also, we will pass legislation in the Senate related to the Department of Homeland Security so that the House and Senate can participate in a conference committee on that legislation. In the conference, Democrats and Republicans will have the opportunity to negotiate the details of the homeland security bill, which includes the issues of border security, humanitarian aid, drug inspection technology, and many others.

We expect the continuing resolution to clear the House and be signed by the president today.

As soon as the president signs the legislation to open government, we in Congress will roll up our sleeves. I genuinely hope that this process can produce something that is good for the country and acceptable to both sides. We don’t agree on some of the specifics of border security – Democrats are against the wall – but we agree on many things, such as the need for new technology, and the need to strengthen security at our ports of entry, and that bodes well for coming to an eventual agreement.

I believe there is good faith on both sides to try to reach an agreement, and we will work diligently to achieve one. And because we’ve set this up as a conference, Democratic and Republican leadership, House and Senate, will be involved, as will the appropriators from those committees.

Most importantly, this agreement means that the government will reopen and 800,000 federal employees will finally get paid. After over a month of increasing desperation, our dedicated public servants will get the relief and the paychecks that they are entitled to, including back pay. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank the federal workers who worked so selflessly this past month. They should never have to go through this again. We will do everything we can to make sure they won’t have to.

The past month has proven just how vital government services are to the American people, whether that’s air traffic control, food safety inspections, the Coast Guard, National Parks, and so many, so many others.

With this agreement, TSA, Border Patrol, FBI agents will all be paid again for their work protecting our country. Our airports will get back on track, we’ll resume maintenance of our cherished National Parks, and the IRS can issue tax refunds in a timely manner – all critical for the well-being of the American people.

As Democrats have said all along, the solution to this impasse was to separate funding the government from our disagreements over border security. This agreement endorses that position. It reopens the government without preconditions and gives Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to discuss border security without holding hundreds of thousands of American workers hostage.

Hopefully, it means a lesson has been learned: shutting down government over a policy difference is self-defeating. It accomplishes nothing but pain and suffering for the country and the American people. That’s a lesson we all must bear in mind when this next continuing resolution expires, and that will make its success more likely.

We can never hold American workers hostage again.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Finally, President Trump has ended his disastrous government shutdown.  One of the results of this embarrassing, destructive, and unnecessary government shutdown should be a new bipartisan rule which guarantees we will never face this again.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

“Today, this senseless shutdown will finally come to an end—that’s a good thing. For the last five weeks, hundreds of thousands of workers went without pay, and everything from air safety to medical advancements were undermined.

“But this shutdown never should have happened in the first place—we’re in the exact same place we were five weeks ago, but our workers, our economy, and our country have seriously suffered.

“The President needs to stop playing games, end the threats, and allow the country to get back to work.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

“This legislation will finally end this shutdown, get 800,000 federal workers paid and back to work, and allow Congress and the President to move forward with negotiations for a longer-term funding deal. I’m pleased President Trump has backed our bipartisan proposal, and I urge my colleagues to vote on the legislation today. We need to end the longest shutdown in our history and get back to the work of the American people,” said Senator Van Hollen.

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Read Speaker Pelosi’s full floor remarks from January 25 here.

Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

“While I am relieved that the President is finally willing to allow 800,000 federal employees get back to work and receive the paychecks they are due – and restore critical services to millions of Americans – it is deeply angering that he inflicted uncertainty and economic insecurity on Americans across the country for no reason for the past thirty-five days.  The Democratic-led House has voted eleven times to end the Trump-McConnell shutdown, and it will now do its part again by passing a continuing resolution to reopen the government through February 15. Democrats have always supported robust border security, and we will work to ensure that we pursue border security investments that are smart and strategic and in line with our nation’s values.”

Representative James Clyburn (D-SC)

“Today the American people’s and federal workers’ prayers are answered. I am pleased an agreement has been reached that will reopen the government. As a South Carolinian, I adhere to our state’s motto ‘while I breathe, I hope.’ I am very hopeful that Congress will use the time provided by this plan to find common ground on a path forward.”  

Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

“What is most important is that federal workers are going to get paid, services will resume, and local projects can proceed. There was no reason for the American people to suffer for 35 days. To be clear, the President could have accepted a bipartisan, clean Continuing Resolution to prevent a government shutdown back in December. In the days ahead, we must fully fund the federal government and discuss the modern and effective border security measures that Democrats have laid out.”

Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA)

“Shutting down the government is damaging and dumb.  Federal workers, Coast Guard members and local communities shouldn’t be asked to pay the price for a failure of leadership in Washington, DC.  This isn’t a game and our neighbors aren’t pawns in a negotiation. It’s time to restore people’s faith and get back to the ideas that make our nation exceptional—that we can solve our problems through reasoned debate and bipartisan consensus building. The government should never have closed over a policy disagreement, and it’s on every member of Congress and the President to ensure this doesn’t happen again in three weeks—or, frankly, ever.

“This announcement is the first piece of good news 800,000 public servants have received in more than a month. But, there will be lasting economic consequences in our region from this shutdown. Coast Guard families have had to live under the stress of not knowing from where their next meal will come. The non-profit group that operates the ski slopes at Hurricane Ridge has lost more than 40 percent of its season, which will not be repaid. The maintenance backlog in our National Parks got even worse. The timber sale season, which tribes are counting on for annual revenue, has come and is nearly gone. And, prison guards, air traffic controllers and TSA agents have been keeping us safe while worrying about whether or not they can afford prescriptions, child care, mortgages, rent and gas while working without pay. As I said throughout this shutdown, and long before it, I am committed to working on a comprehensive, bipartisan border security package that effectively secures our nation.  That can and should happen with government open.”

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA)

“We are pleased to see that President Trump decided to move forward with the Blue Dog Coalition’s proposal to reopen the government first followed by a long-term, bipartisan solution that ensures strong, effective border security. While we are relieved that President Trump has decided to reopen the government, both parties must work together to ensure this never happens again. There is never a good reason to shut down the government of the greatest nation on Earth. Period. This shutdown demonstrated exactly why Americans are losing faith in their institutions—and we must do all that we can to restore that faith. Congress can start by doing its job on time and passing all full-year funding bills by the October 1 deadline. While the Continuing Resolution (CR) provides necessary, temporary economic relief to the American people, we are still learning about the long-term national security and economic effects this shutdown has created. If we continue to lurch from one self-inflicted crisis to the next with yet another temporary solution, we haven’t solved the problem.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

“After the longest government shutdown in history and after government workers missed two pay periods, Democrats have finally decided to come to the table and negotiate. Now is the time to put people before politics and solve this problem. This is about fixing a broken status quo that tolerates hundreds of thousands of people entering our country illegally. It is about fixing a broken status quo that tolerates humanitarian suffering and security vulnerabilities. This is about a stronger future for our country. And I look forward to Democrats working with Republicans in good faith and in concert with their past statements for strong borders to solve this problem.”

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