MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Lawmakers across the Mid-South reacted Friday to the deal that’s expected to reopen the government.
After a 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, President Trump announced Friday afternoon that all sides had reached an agreement temporarily reopening the government until Feb. 15. The deal does not include funding for the president’s proposed border wall.
The president is expected to sign the resolution into law Friday night.
Following the announcement, Mid-South lawmakers released statements in response to the end of the shutdown.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee
“Holding federal employees’ livelihoods hostage in order to get Congress to meet an unreasonable border policy demand was always a bad idea. I’m pleased our federal employees will be coming back to work, and that they will quickly receive their backpay. I hope we can get these issues resolved before the new February 15 deadline, and the possibility of another impasse and shutdown. I hope the President has learned his lesson that the public will not tolerate unsafe aviation, lack of food safety inspections and other hazardous conditions the shutdown imposed.
“I want to commend Senator Alexander for his vote Thursday night, joining all the Democratic Senators in signaling his willingness to re-open the government without border wall funding. And I’d like to mention that Speaker Pelosi’s insistence that the House would not host a State of the Union speech with the government shut down went a long way in making the President ‘reasonable.’”
Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tennessee
“I am pleased to hear that the government will be reopened, and all federal employees will be paid for their work immediately. I hope my Democratic colleagues will follow President Trump’s lead and operate in good faith over the coming weeks as we negotiate a deal to build the wall and secure the southern border.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee
“This is exactly what I voted twice to do yesterday: open the government. Now it is time for Congress to go to work and produce a bill that includes a comprehensive approach to border security including physical barriers where appropriate. That’s what we did for the last four presidents when 654 miles of physical barrier on the 1,954 mile border were approved by Congress on a bipartisan basis and that’s what we should do working with President Trump.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee
“President Trump has reached a compromise with Democratic and Republican leaders to reopen the federal government with a short term continuing resolution. While this action solves the immediate problem of funding the back pay of 800,000 federal workers, it does not address the urgent need to end the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. It does not end the illegal flow of drugs, gangs and human traffickers. Congress’ work on this issue is far from over. I will continue to support our border patrol and their three essential needs: a border barrier, additional technology and more officers and agents on the border. I also support ending the DACA program, chain migration and the visa lottery system.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi
“I respect the President’s decision to reopen closed portions of the federal government and end the hardship the shutdown has caused many people in Mississippi and around the country. We’ll have three weeks to work together to complete the 2019 appropriations process with funding for stronger border security and other national priorities. This will require Democrats to negotiate in good faith with President Trump and Republicans for the common good of our citizens.”
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi
“A number of Democrats in the House and Senate have stated publicly and privately they would negotiate in good faith if the President would reopen the government. By making this agreement with the President, congressional Democrats will have an opportunity over the next three weeks to make good on their assurances. Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have voted in the past to fund border security structures. In the meantime, it is a relief to us all that our government will be functioning, and our dedicated federal employees will receive their compensation.”
Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas
“This announcement is a promising step. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have missed paychecks and Arkansans who rely on shuttered agencies have experienced unnecessary anxiety as a result of this partial shutdown. We can, and must, resolve our differences over border security without this extra turmoil.
I agree with the president’s call for more resources to defend our border. We must provide the funds for increased manpower, technology and infrastructure—including roads for access, electronic devices for surveillance and fencing for deterrence. These measures will help reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming across our border in addition to combatting drug and human trafficking. An increase in resources had bipartisan support from Senate Appropriations Committee members for Fiscal Year 2019. It’s time to act on that.
Speaker Pelosi refused to discuss border security until the government was fully open. The president has offered this good faith effort to move discussions on additional border funding forward. Speaker Pelosi should follow suit. Let’s come together to reach a consensus that puts the interests of our nation first.”