Shelby on shutdown negotiations: ‘We’ve got to move away from the blame game’
Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) advised that the government shutdown made lawmakers look “silly” and that leaders on both sides of the aisle need to “move away from the blame game” in order to find a resolution. He also reaffirmed his support for securing the nation’s borders.
Shelby is the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and has been praised for his historic leadership this year that led to most of the government being funded through regular order for Fiscal Year 2019. However, the final piece of the appropriations puzzle is currently being held hostage over partisan disagreements on immigration and border security policy.
“Our negotiations are at an impasse at the moment,” Shelby explained. “I wish it were not so.”
He continued, “We’ve got to move away from the blame game of blaming the president, blaming the Democrats, Pelosi, Schumer and others, and get back to doing what we’re sent there to do, fund the government. That’s been my mandate. That’s what we’ve been working [on] hard this year in a bipartisan way on the Appropriations Committee. Senator Leahy, the senator from Vermont, he is the ranking Democrat on the committee. I believe if people would help us along, [we] would do what we did with the 75 percent that we’ve funded to the government. Fund it all, the sooner the better.”
The senior senator from Alabama said that he had lunch with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the subject last Saturday.
“[W]e talked at length about it, how to bring it to a close. How to fund the government. And the president made some proposals through the vice president. I made some proposals to Senator Schumer, the night before. But right now we’re at a standoff, and I think that’s not good for the Senate, the House, or America. We can do better and we’ve got to figure out a way, Margaret, to get to yes. If we blame each other this could last a long, long time,” Shelby outlined.
He also emphasized, “[M]y goal is to secure the borders.”
“I believe the president does not want a shutdown,” Shelby advised. “I think we- he wants to secure the borders which he should and we should help him do that. But there are a lot of ways to do it. Sometimes names get in the way of good work.”
Shelby explained, “[W]e’re one of the great nations of the world that don’t secure the borders. Democrats and Republicans have worked together toward that end before, it’s going to take us working together to get it done. And that’s what I want to do as chairman of the Appropriations Committee to reach out to the Democrats, get the president on board, get the Democrats on board and let’s move on and quit fighting and quit blaming each other.”
“It’s a question when do we get off the blame game and we get to serious negotiations. At the end of the day, all of this will end—we don’t know when—in negotiations. It’s not a question of who wins or loses. Nobody’s gonna win this kind of game. Nobody wins in a shutdown. We all lose and we kind of look silly,” Shelby concluded.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn