Shelby: Economy ‘hottest I’ve ever seen in my lifetime’
Ahead of Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) took time to highlight what is perhaps the crown jewel in President Donald Trump’s list of achievements: the record-breaking national economy.
In an interview with reporters on Capitol Hill, Shelby predicted that Trump would talk about finding common ground while also sharing some of his administration’s accomplishments during the annual speech.
“I would think he’s going to reach out to the Democrats and probably talk about some of the achievements,” Shelby advised.
The senator added, “The economy’s good, the hottest I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”
Sen. Richard Shelby on what he expects from President Trump in #SOTU: “I would think he’s going to reach out to the Democrats and probably talk about some of the achievements. The economy’s good, the hottest I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.'” #SOTU2019 @HillTVLive pic.twitter.com/agkxOXedcG
— The Hill (@thehill) February 5, 2019
The remarks came as Shelby serves as vice chair of the bicameral conference of lawmakers charged with reaching a solution on funding the remainder of the government for the rest of the fiscal year, immigration policy and border security appropriations.
In the conference’s first meeting last week, Shelby delivered a strong call to action, emphasizing,”[T]hese negotiations must not end with platitudes or future promises; they must yield results that actually secure the border.”
Shelby’s full statement from the meeting as follows:
For 35 days Democratic leaders in the House and Senate pledged that negotiations on border security would occur once the government was re-opened.
With a three-week continuing resolution in place, today we begin – in earnest – a negotiation to resolve our differences on this critical issue.
Thus far, all sides seem to agree that border security is important.
That is a good start, but it cannot end there.
These negotiations must not end with platitudes or future promises; they must yield results that actually secure the border.
What is necessary to accomplish this goal?
Our border patrol professionals – those on the front lines – tell us that a comprehensive approach is necessary.
An approach that includes technology, infrastructure, personnel and physical barriers.
Smart technology is part of a comprehensive solution, but it is not the solution in and of itself.
Cameras, sensors, drones and other smart technology highlight the gaps and vulnerabilities along our border.
In short, they provide a greater awareness of exactly where our insecurities lie along the border.
But smart technology alone does not actually stop anyone from crossing into the U.S. illegally.
And if that is happening, our borders are not secure.
Our border patrol tells us that they need physical barriers to help them do their job.
Not from coast to coast, but strategically placed where traffic is highest.
Combined with technology, manpower, and other infrastructure, these strategic barriers comprise a comprehensive solution that is capable of fully securing the border.
It is a commonsense, all-of-the-above solution to a problem that both parties have said for decades we need to fix.
Stepping back for a moment, it is unfortunate that this issue has become so politicized.
That has not always been the case, even up until very recently.
Just last May the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a Homeland Security spending bill that included money for physical barriers by a vote of 26 – 5.
There was no partisan vitriol surrounding that vote.
The Committee simply decided on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for a project that Congress had funded the previous year.
Since that time, the President has increased his funding request based on the advice of our border security professionals on the ground.
I hope we heed the guidance of these professionals as our negotiations proceed.
As appropriators, we know how to work together on a bipartisan basis and solve problems.
That is what we have done for the majority of the FY2019 process, and that is what the American people expect of us now.
So I hope these negotiations yield results, and soon.
And I hope that by reaching a compromise here we will set a tone of bipartisanship for the appropriations cycle ahead of us.
Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Granger and all Members of this committee – I look forward to working with you, but I must stress that as long as we remain polarized, we will never resolve our differences on this critical issue for the good of the American people.
In interviews in recent days, Shelby has reaffirmed his support for a comprehensive border security package that includes physical barriers – or “walls” – in certain strategic locations. He also urged negotiators on both sides to put politics aside and listen to the experts that deal with the issue daily so the best policy solution can be reached.
Senator Richard Shelby: “I think that the President is dead set on keeping his campaign promise. I support border security, a wall, a fence, a barrier, whatever it takes.” https://t.co/CRthoFnWUE pic.twitter.com/aKs6cSWU3q
— The Hill (@thehill) February 4, 2019
Senator Richard Shelby: “The president hasn’t specifically said he’s going to invoke an emergency powers. But he’s, under the constitution, he’s probably got some rights there.” https://t.co/CRthoFFxMc pic.twitter.com/FE8CXNJ84S
— The Hill (@thehill) February 4, 2019
Last month, the senior senator from Alabama called the economy under Trump “the best [he has] ever seen.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn