Tester Demands Vote to Reopen the Government
McConnell Blocks Motion to End Shutdown
(U.S. Senate) – Twenty days into President Trump’s shutdown, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding a vote to reopen the government.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and that work starts with opening the government of the United States,” Tester said in an impassioned speech on the Senate Floor. “We can continue to have the debate about the best way to secure the border, but we should not be holding the American people hostage.”
Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation to fund six of the seven agencies that are currently shutdown and reopen the Department of Homeland Security for the next 30 days as negotiations continue on border security funding. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is refusing to bring the bills up for a vote in the Senate.
“Bring the bills to the floor to open this government and vote on them,” Tester demanded. “If they go down, they go down-but I think they’ll pass. And if the President vetoes them, bring them back for a veto override. It is as simple as that.”
Tester joined his colleagues on the Senate Floor today as they tried to force a vote on legislation that would end what is now the second longest shutdown in American history. McConnell blocked the motion, refusing to hold a vote on any legislation that the President says he will veto.
“We’re a coequal branch of government,” Tester added. “We shouldn’t be asking for a permission slip from the President to do our business.”
As Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Tester helped write legislation that would provide more than $21 billion for border security and immigration enforcement. He also voted for legislation to keep the government open last month, which passed the Senate unanimously. The House passed similar legislation last week. Reopening the government now depends on the Senate voting to send this legislation to the President’s desk.