U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) voted in favor of the End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act. The amendment offered by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) to H.R. 268 failed a cloture vote on Thursday afternoon.

“Today, every senator had the opportunity to vote to immediately reopen the government.  The End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act is a commonsense compromise that would fund critical federal agencies and enhance border security to help curb human trafficking and the transport of illegal weapons and drugs into communities in Iowa, and across the nation,” Ernst said.

Grassley criticized Democrats who voted against the bill that included a compromise offered by the President Donald Trump.

“Today we had an opportunity to advance President Trump’s compromise bill that would immediately reopen the government and fund the top ten border security priorities laid out by career experts at Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security. The bill would have also provided important humanitarian support at the border and improved certainty for dreamers and other immigrants. Unfortunately, Democrats refused to join that effort. Instead they opted for a my-way-or-the-highway approach that could never become law,” Grassley said.

“Now is not the time for show votes. Reopening the government is going to take a serious negotiation, which means nobody is going to get everything they want. President Trump’s proposal wasn’t perfect, but it was a good-faith effort to reach an agreement that both sides could support. Indeed, it included provisions that both sides supported in the past. Now that President Trump has put an offer on the table, it’s time that Democrats put politics aside and negotiate to reopen the government,” he added.

The amendment included $5.7 billion for construction of a physical barrier along the highest priority locations of the southern border, in addition to providing funding for 750 new border patrol agents and 375 new customs officers as well as counter-drugs and weapons technology and humanitarian needs.

It also included three-year “provisional protected presence” status for foreign nationals who grew up in the United States and are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Also, certain current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients are eligible for the protected presence status.

The act also included language to reform how Central American minors are processed as refugees. Shelby’s amendment would require a statutory change, along with reallocation of State Department funds, to establish in-country processing capacities at consulates and embassies in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in an effort to reduce the incentive for such persons to make the dangerous journey to the United States southern border. 

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