MCCONNELL: Government shutdowns are bad for border security

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks Thursday on the Senate floor regarding government funding:

“Congress has three days left to pass straightforward, short-term funding legislation and prevent the federal government from shutting down.

“That’s three more days to provide essential resources at the current rate of operations before critical government functions come to a screeching halt.

“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s at stake.

“Shutting down the government is not like pressing pause. It’s not an interlude that lets us pick up where we left off.

“It’s an actively harmful proposition. And instead of producing any meaningful policy outcomes, it would actually take the important progress being made on a number of key issues and drag it backward.

“Back in 2019, our colleagues on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee found that over the previous five years, government shutdowns had cost the taxpayer nearly $4 billion dollars.

“The American people covered at least $3.7 billion dollars in back pay for federal workers. Some went to the servicemembers, law enforcement officers, and other front-line personnel who stayed on duty.

“But some went to cover the equivalent of nearly 57,000 years of work that federal employees hadn’t even been allowed to complete. And that’s not to mention hundreds of millions of dollars in extra administrative costs.

“America cannot afford for Congress to take government shutdowns lightly. That’s especially true of the crisis at our nation’s southern border.

“The Biden Administration’s utter failure to secure the border has been record-breaking in the worst possible ways. Functionally open borders have led to an all-time high migration and stretched border security resources to a breaking point.

“Meanwhile, flows of deadly drugs have made every state a border state. In fact, the Border Patrol reported recently that in the past year, agents have seized enough fentanyl alone to kill the entire population of the United States.

“And time and again, government shutdowns have made the essential work of the Border Patrol and ICE even harder. Many of our colleagues have pointed out how border security personnel, like our armed forces, would work through a shutdown without pay.

“But the full consequences go beyond financial hardship.

“As our colleagues’ 2019 report found, past shutdowns have delayed important maintenance and repair work that quote, ‘endangered the lives of law enforcement officers and created significant border security vulnerabilities.’

“They’ve forced officials to cancel tens of thousands of immigration hearings.

“And they’ve taken the Department of Homeland Security’s employee E-Verify system completely offline.

“Mr. President, shutting down the government is a choice. And it’s a choice that would make the crisis at our southern border even worse.

“I’m encouraged that many of our colleagues who share my concerns are working to ensure that the short-term funding measure we pass this week gives the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE critical resources while we continue our work to clean up Washington Democrats’ mess.”


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