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Joe M.
Democrat WV

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  • Department of Homeland Security Funding

    by Senator Joe Manchin, III

    Posted on 2015-02-03

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    MANCHIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. MANCHIN. Madam President, I rise in opposition to what seems to be a politically motivated Department of Homeland Security funding bill that we had to vote on. Funding the DHS should be a priority of Congress. It really should be. I know it is for all of us, and we cannot afford to play any of the political partisan games. It is not what people in this country want see. It doesn't do any of us justice whatsoever. We jeopardize the funding for third largest agency in the country that will risk lapse in not only our border security, which is most important to all of us, but also cyber security, also Secret Service protection, disaster response, FEMA, TSA in airports. Our Nation faces many threats from our enemies, both overseas and here at home, more so than ever before.

    The world is a troubled place. We all go home and the No. 1 thing people are concerned about is the security of our own Nation. They see this evil going on, and now this horrific, barbaric action we saw that took place with the Jordanian pilot is unimaginable to us, that people could act this way to other humans.

    With that being said, we have to stand united in supporting our values and protecting our citizens in the United States of America. This is not the forum for debate on immigration, and I have said that. I would hope some of my colleagues would feel the same way. We should fully fund the DHS, and this is one that has necessary levels that must be funded for the protection of our country. Then we can deal with our immigration system which is broken. I think we have stated that in the Senate. We have stood bravely, we voted, and we did changes and took some tough votes that needed to be made.

    I agree with all of my Republican colleagues that our borders need to be secure. I don't think any of us disagree with that. It has to be secured first and then must stem the tide of illegal immigrants flowing into our country. We have seen them coming in all different sizes, races, and sexes. It continues to be something we should be concerned about.

    I also agree with my Republican colleagues that President Obama should [[Page S729]] not have executed action--he should not have used his Executive action to make changes in our immigration system. I think we should have doubled down and gotten this bill before us and get the House. I disagree with the House's decision not to even take up the bill we sent. In a bipartisan fashion it was debated on this floor, put together by Democrats and Republicans.

    I have been here for 4 years. I haven't seen a bill worked more intensely than the immigration bill. I haven't seen the border security worked more intensely and Republicans and Democrats working together to make sure we have a Homeland Security that will secure our borders. That is the first time I saw the Senate truly work since I have been here and saw what the potential would be if we worked together. I was very excited about that. I thought for sure we would get a vote. Now we are back to the same, putting together who is for what and how we are going to posture on this one. I believe this is not the place and this is not the bill for us to get into a political squabble. I don't.

    I know the House put us in a difficult position. It came over here, it had to be voted on, and it was. Now we have to get on to serious business. How do we take care and make sure our Department of Homeland Security has the necessary funding through an appropriations bill that both Democrats and Republicans worked on, not for another continuing resolution which does not let our different branches that are responsible for Homeland Security be able to upgrade and fight the battle we need to fight.

    When we think about all of the new equipment that is needed for our forces out there, our National Guard, also our Coast Guard, what they need to be updated and upgraded to and the things that have been planned, it will only happen through a bill we pass on this side. It will not happen through a continuing resolution bill. It will be the same as we have had. The status quo will not change.

    I am willing to work with all of my friends in here to have a good, clean Homeland Security bill that does the job and protects the United States of America. I am not willing to do a bill that will jeopardize the security of our homeland, which is what I think we have received. I think we can do better than that.

    I urge all of our colleagues to work together to get a piece of legislation that helps protect America and keeps America safe and also puts the emphasis where it needs to be. That is what the people back home in West Virginia expect. I know people in New Hampshire expect the same from the Presiding Officer. I know we can deliver, working together in a bipartisan way, putting America first and not our politics. That is what they expect. I hope we are able to rise above this, and we will get through this. I think we will get to a clean bill that basically secures America and keeps us safe.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.

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