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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Isakson Votes Twice to End Shutdown

After failed votes to reopen government, Isakson urges colleagues to enter negotiations to end partial shutdown

WASHINGTON – After two failed procedural votes that would have taken crucial steps to reopen the government and provide furloughed government employees with immediate back pay, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today spoke on the Senate floor to express his disappointment in the Senate’s inability to negotiate in good faith a deal to reopen the unfunded portions of the federal government while making needed improvements to border security.

“You know a lot of people think Congress’ job is to come to Washington and change things for the better,” said Isakson in his floor remarks. “When it comes to immigration, all we ever change is the subject. We never end the debate, we never pass a result, and often times we would call each other names for the wrong reason.

“I’m here for one reason: To thank the colleagues that are on the floor here and all those others that are ready to do some business. I’m ready to do some business.

“It’s time we put the workers in our government back to work. It’s time we were doing what we promised the people of the United States of America we would do, and it’s time we went to work. Because when everybody’s out of work, it’s our fault. These are the people who carry the mail, empty the garbage, cook in the cafeteria, clean up the parks, and do everything they do without any complaint whatsoever. But they’re out there, many of them not even being paid right now, while we’re sitting here debating a subject that we can’t reach a solution on, period.

“We need to take our armor off, leave our weapons at the door, walk in the room, shake hands. … Let’s sit down, and let’s pass a bill we can both agree on that gets Americans back to work and restores the spirit of Ellis Island and the pride of the United States of America.”

The first vote Isakson supported was for President Trump’s proposal to reopen the government through Sept. 30, 2019. The measure also would have provided $5.7 billion in funding for border security and extended legal protections to some immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children, for three years.

Isakson also voted for a second bill that was a three-week continuing resolution that would have funded the portions of the government that have been shut down through Feb. 8. This bill would have provided members of Congress an opportunity to negotiate on broader legislation to provide border security while reopening the previously shuttered portions of the government and providing back pay to all furloughed employees.

Neither measure received the required 60 votes to advance. Both of today’s failed measures also included more than $12 billion for supplemental disaster relief, which would benefit Georgians who are recovering from Hurricane Michael.

Previously, Isakson supported the Senate’s passage of S.24, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, now signed into law, to immediately provide back pay to all furloughed government employees as soon as the government reopens. Isakson also supported measures offered in today’s session of the Senate to immediately begin paying Coast Guard employees and all federal employees who are required to work during the partial shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., objected to requests to pass these bills by unanimous consent.

Isakson was joined by likeminded colleagues on the Senate floor today who each urged their fellow Senate colleagues to continue to work to end the shutdown and provide border security. Video of Isakson’s remarks can be viewed here.

Related:

Isakson: No Better Time Than Now to Prevent Future Government Shutdowns

Isakson Remarks on Government Shutdown

Isakson Speaks on Partial Government Shutdown and Border Security

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