Donald Trump’s ‘Major Announcement’: Congress Reacts

President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the White House on Saturday, January 19, as the partial federal government shutdown extended into the 29th day with seemingly no end in sight to the gridlock.

In the address, which he teased on social media as a “major announcement,” the president repeated his demand for $5.7 billion to construct a border wall along high-priority areas, a proposal which Democrats have repeatedly rejected. His proposed compromise includes: $800M in humanitarian assistance; $805M for drug detection technology at ports of entry; 2,750 new border patrol agents; and 75 new immigration judge teams.

President Trump proposed extending protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, known as DREAMers. He suggested three years of “legislative relief” for DACA recipients, which would give Congress time to negotiate a “larger immigration deal,” as well as a three-year extension of Temporary Protected Status for immigrants whose protections are about to expire.

The president argued that “walls are not immoral” and again stated that Democrats have supported barriers on the border in the past. Toward the end of the speech, President Trump said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would bring a bill to the floor sometime in the next week, in the hope of ending the government shutdown.

How are members of Congress reacting to the president’s Saturday address? Here’s a roundup below.


Democrats React to President Trump’s ‘Major Announcement’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open the government and proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives. It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter… Next week, Democrats will pass a package of six bills agreed to by House and Senate negotiators and other legislation to re-open government so that we can fully negotiate on border security proposals.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “With his statement on the #TrumpShutdown, it’s clear President @realDonaldTrump realizes that by closing the government and hurting so many American workers and their families, he has put himself and the country in an untenable position… It was the President who single-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place – offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking.”

Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan: “Once again, @realDonaldTrump expresses not one word of sympathy for the 800,000 public servants—FBI agents, TSA officers, Coast Guard members, Secret Service agents and border patrols officers—working without pay. The President continues to hold these federal workers hostage.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York: “Temporary protections for DACA and TPS in exchange for a permanent and useless wall. Can’t even call this negotiating in bad faith because this clearly wasn’t meant to be a negotiation. Just another con.”

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio: “The Democratic House has passed eight bills to reopen the government. The Republican Senate can pass any one of those bills today. And only after the government is back up and running can we have a real conversation.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland: “Mr. President, before you proceed with discussions to protect the border and DREAMers you must first open the government, and ensure that the more than 800,000 federal employees who have already missed one paycheck do not miss another.”

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois: “First, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell must open the government today. Second, I cannot support the proposed offer as reported and do not believe it can pass the Senate. Third, I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues.”

Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York: “Donald Trump upended the lives of DREAMers and TPS recipients, exposing them to deportation and destroying their lives. Now he holds them hostage for a wall he promised Mexico would pay for. No deal.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona: “Let’s not get distracted. Trump needs to reopen the government. Today. Now. Then we can go back to legislating and trying to reach compromises on immigration, health care, education, and other important issues facing the country.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts: “Federal workers are not bargaining chips. @realDonaldTrump and @senatemajldr McConnell must end this shutdown and re-open the government immediately.”


Republicans React to President Trump’s ‘Major Announcement’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I commend the President for his leadership in proposing this bold solution to reopen the government, secure the border, and take bipartisan steps toward addressing current immigration issues… Everyone has made their point—now it’s time to make a law. I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well. The situation for furloughed employees isn’t getting any brighter and the crisis at the border isn’t improved by show votes. But the President’s plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “President Trump has put forward a serious and reasonable offer to reform parts of our broken immigration system and reopen government. The moment now turns to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The country is watching.”

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana: “The contrast between @realDonaldTrump & Democrats could not be clearer today: people can see he’s serious about ending the shutdown & securing our border, while Democrats have yet to make a single legitimate counteroffer throughout the last month the government has been shut down.”

Rep, Mark Meadows of North Carolina: “This is the latest and most significant step yet of POTUS showing his willingness to negotiate and compromise with Democrats on the issue of wall funding. At this point, if Democrats refuse to come to the table, it will show they are not at all serious about solving this impasse.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: “@POTUS offers to support 2 bills sponsored by Dems (TPS & DACA extensions)in exchange for Border Security (something Democrats claim to support) & the immediate response from Dem leaders is No? I hope rank & file D’s don’t go along with this strategy of unreasonable obstruction.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee: “.@realDonaldTrump is correct. The problems of open borders create problems that spread across the country, making every town a border town and every state a border state.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio: “.@POTUS has laid out a constructive new proposal that contains the basis for a bipartisan agreement. It includes many of the same ideas I have been discussing in bipartisan over the past few weeks bit.ly/2FJEGeI”

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah: “.@POTUS has put forth a reasonable, good faith proposal that will reopen the government and help secure the border. I look forward to voting for it and will work to encourage my Republican and Democratic colleagues to do the same.”

Senator Martha McSally of Arizona: “@POTUS’ proposal represents a significant step forward. I am hopeful that members from both sides of the aisle will come together to move us beyond this impasse, so we can open up our government and secure our border.”

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