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Quigley Urges Congress to Re-Open the Government and Consider Smart, Effective Border Security Measures

Jan 23, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Appropriations, spoke on the House Floor about the consequences of the ongoing shutdown and the need to pass legislation to re-open the government. Click here to watch the video or read his remarks below.

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you, Madam Chairman.

"During these heated times, we’re accused of sometimes not listening to each other. Well, we listened to you. You all wanted the conference bills, and you have them.

"And I have heard today that what we need is a compromise on border security, which is interesting because we’re here, on day 33 of the shutdown, because of the President’s singular focus—almost an obsession—on a symbolic, but ineffective, wall. Not border security.

"He is holding the government, its workers, and the services they provide, hostage because he has convinced himself and, surely, his base that the wall will protect us from violent crime and end the flow of illegal drugs.

"If the President actually believes that border security is the end goal of the wall, then fine, let’s reopen the government and have that debate.

"Because our plans for border security actually work.

"Enacting the bills before us today does nothing to preclude the President from continuing to make his case on the wall.

"He and the Republicans have simply concluded that by continuing to impose suffering on federal workers and the public that relies on them, it strengthens their hand in negotiations – only one element of that. An ineffective element – the wall.

"That is not the way our government is designed to work, nor should it work.

"This is governing by extortion, and we should all stand together to reject such tactics.

"Democrats know that we can do more to strengthen border security, but it has to be done in a smart and effective way.

"We know that more than 87% of the hard narcotics are coming through our official ports of entry. A wall will do nothing to stop that.

"That’s why the Financial Services and General Government division of this bill responsibly puts money where it is most critically needed and includes full funding for construction of two of the highest priority ports of entry along the Southwest border to help stem the flow of illegal goods, narcotics, and people being smuggled into the country.

"Overall, this conference agreement provides $1.6 billion for border security—REAL border security.

"And we are prepared to do more.

"During my visit to the southern border in October, I was briefed on security needs.

"And I heard a lot about new cameras, sensors, radars mounted on towers, vehicles to spot moving people and objects, and for drones to surveil tough terrain, roads that are parallel to the border. All things that actually work.

"And at the ports of entry they need new technology to eventually scan all commercial and passenger vehicles for illegal drugs and contraband.

"We can provide these resources. This bill shows that we’re willing and able to put down a payment on these bipartisan solutions.

"So again, if it’s about border security and that’s why we’re here, then fine. Let’s pass the bill, reopen the government, and have that debate.

"Thank you and I yield back."