I received a response from Thom Tillis in NC just now.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the partial government shutdown. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, on December 19, 2018, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government until February 8, 2019. However, this measure was not considered by the House of Representatives, as President Trump stated he would not sign the legislation if his request of $5.6 billion for border security was not included. Subsequently, the House of Representatives considered a spending bill which included President Trump’s request for funds to update physical barriers and infrastructure along the border. This updated spending bill was then sent back to the Senate for consideration, but failed to gain the support needed from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
On December 22, 2018, twenty-five percent of the federal government had a lapse of funding and shutdown. In an effort to keep the government open, I voted for both spending bills considered in the Senate; however, the inability to not reach a bipartisan consensus on this commonsense issue has resulted in a partial government shutdown. I am disappointed to see that my colleagues, many of who have voted for border security funding in the past, could not support President Trump’s reasonable request. The funding request would have updated existing infrastructure and allow for additional security at some of our most dangerous spots along the border.
With that said, throughout 2018, Congress has worked on a bipartisan basis to pass appropriations bills that fund 75% of the federal government. These appropriation bills include funding for the Department of Defense, Energy and Water Development, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, the Legislative Branch, and Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education. These measures alone fund $900 billion out of a $1.2 trillion budget and together mark the most spending bills enacted on time in over two decades.
While I am happy to see that Congress is getting back into the habit of passing appropriations bills on time in order to fulfill its duties, it is critical that Republicans and Democrats work together to reach a compromise to re-open the government as soon as possible. Please know providing long-term appropriations bills for the portion of the government that is currently not funded is very important to me, and I will continue to be engaged on this issue to ensure there is a path forward.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me again about other important issues. Sincerely,