Senate funding progress is not a permanent solution
By U.S. Sen. David Perdue
September 19, 2018
In March, President Trump said he would never again sign another last-minute, massive spending bill. In May, a group of 16 Republican senators came together to say we were willing to work nights, weekends, and through the annual August recess to deliver results, specifically on confirmations and funding. This additional time created an opportunity for Congress to fully fund the government on time for the first time in 22 years.
Congress got close, but missed its chance.
Despite some progress, in typical Washington fashion, Congress has again found a way to fall short of fulfilling its constitutional responsibility. There is still time before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, but Congress has thrown in the towel. It has turned to another continuing resolution to keep the lights on until December. This is completely unacceptable.
Amazingly, some senators are patting themselves on the back for partially funding the federal government — but there is no reason to celebrate. In the real world, you are held accountable to complete the job. Working through August was never about spending more time in Washington. It was about confirming as many nominations as possible, due to Democratic obstruction, and funding the government. It’s that simple.
Since the Senate stayed in session this August, we successfully completed 90 percent of the funding bills for the first time in 22 years. This is a huge step forward, but we still didn’t get it all done. The Senate has completed and passed nine of the 12 appropriations bills in three tranches. Both chambers have been working diligently to sort out the differences in conference. The remaining funding is being held up due to controversy over border security.
Meanwhile, congressional leadership decided to roll the unfinished bills into a package tied to defense funding and call it a day until December. This is a total sleight of hand. It is caving to Senate Democrats who are doing everything they can to derail President Trump’s agenda, including funding for border security and the wall.
Another funding failure further exposes the underlying problems with the funding process used by Congress since 1974. It has only fully funded the government four times in the past 44 years. It has locked Washington in a cycle of continuing resolutions and last-minute spending deals. This week marked the 184th time Congress used a continuing resolution. Until politicians have the will to do something about this broken process, these funding lapses will continue.
There is a different way to deliver results. Over the last year, as a member of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, I have worked in a bipartisan, bicameral way with my colleagues to create a politically neutral platform that funds the government on time every year.
To be successful, this new funding process needs to include specific milestones for completing funding and appropriate consequences if Congress fails to meet those markers.
I came to the Senate to help tackle our national debt crisis. While the Senate has made significant progress on funding this year, permanent change will not happen unless we get serious. It will not happen if Congress refuses to hold itself accountable for failure. It will not happen if Congress continues to accept a broken funding process.
The Joint Select Committee is our last chance to fix this problem, but the window is closing. We have to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards of people in the real world and put a politically neutral platform in place that funds the government on time without the use of continuing resolutions or sweeping funding bills after the end of the fiscal year.
With the size of our national debt, we can no longer kick the can down the road, as Congress did again this year.
Read more in Washington Examiner.
Yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate showed their true colors. First, they forced a government shutdown over DACA. Yesterday, they got an opportunity to vote to give certainty to 1.8 million DACA recipients. They voted no.
Democrats said they wanted to have a bipartisan solution. They really don’t. Democrats said they wanted to secure the border. They really don’t. Instead, they crushed the dreams of people who were counting on them to deliver and showed they are happy to continue having an immigration system that has failed our national security and the American people.
*65% want a DACA deal with strong border security.
*68% oppose the visa lottery.
*79% want secure borders, not open borders.
Any DACA Deal Must Include An End To Chain Migration
By Senators David Perdue, Tom Cotton, and Chuck Grassley
If Congress and the president don’t reach an immigration deal in the next two months, more than 690,000 young DACA recipients will lose their temporary work permits and protections from deportation. Nobody wants to see that happen. Most of these young people were brought to this country through no fault of their own, and they relied on President Obama’s executive actions.
We have great sympathy for these young men and women, and we have an opportunity now to pass legislation that protects them and prevents similar uncertainty in the future. However, hastily passing a clean bill that doesn’t solve the underlying problem will only encourage more illegal immigration and is no way to accomplish this goal.
Any steps we take to address the status of DACA recipients must be structured to prevent this same legal limbo down the road. That’s why any meaningful immigration deal must, among other things, put an end to chain migration.
Chain migration is one of the biggest problems in our immigration system today. Current law allows legal permanent residents and American citizens to sponsor both their immediate and extended family members for immigration to the United States. In other words, our system prioritizes people based on their family ties, instead of their ability to contribute to our nation’s economic well-being. For some categories, like spouses, minor children, elderly and disabled parents, this makes sense. Family is the bedrock of our society, and immediate families should be together.
But unlike other advanced industrialized countries, our nation also gives preferences to the extended family members of citizens. While well intentioned, this policy has had some unfortunate consequences. This policy has spurred a wave of mostly unskilled immigration into our country. Today, only one in 15 of the more than 1 million immigrants who are admitted every year are given a visa because of their job skills or entrepreneurial ability. The other 14 immigrants are admitted without regard to their skills. That means that every year we are admitting hundreds of thousands of workers with almost no consideration for the impact their immigration will have on American jobs and wages. That is one of the reasons why polling has shown that over 70 percent of Americans favor limiting chain migration to only the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents and citizens.
This policy puts downward pressure on the wages of people who toil with their hands, who work on their feet. Americans with high school-level educations have seen their wages fall by 2 percent since the 1970s, while inflation has made the cost of living even higher. For Americans who haven’t finished high school, it’s even worse. Their wages have fallen by nearly 20 percent.
This trend will only get worse if Congress grants legal status to DACA recipients without ending chain migration. Simply doing this without changing our nation’s immigration laws will encourage low-skilled parents from around the world to illegally immigrate to this country with their small children in hopes of obtaining citizenship. And once they and their children receive citizenship, other extended family members will follow, continuing a never-ending cycle of falling wages and mass migration.
That’s why it’s imperative that any final bill eliminate the preferences for extended family members. This change can help avert the adverse economic repercussions.
Several of our colleagues have recently suggested that any fix to chain migration should only eliminate immigration preferences for a very narrow category of individuals: the adult, unmarried children of legal permanent residents. But such a limited change to immigration preferences wouldn’t even end chain migration for this category of individuals. It would merely delay it.
We support policy that is pro-family, pro-growth, and pro-legal immigration. But we cannot let an opportunity to adopt a more worker-focused policy pass us by. Doing so only guarantees that we will be forced to address this very same issue at a later date. And in the meantime, American workers will bear the brunt of our inaction.
The only way to start that process, and to stop the influx of low-skilled immigrants, is to end chain migration. This change is crucial, and any immigration deal must include it.
Read more in The Hill.