Response splits on party lines

Published 1:52 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

President makes case, senators want shutdown to end

Members of Alabama’s legislative delegation in Washington had mixed responses Tuesday night to the president’s Oval Office address, in which he called made his case for a wall on the Mexican border, and said the government shutdown could be solved in 45 minutes.

“…the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government,” President Donald Trump said. “This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) praised the president for his stance.

“I’ve said repeatedly that ensuring the safety of the American people and the security of our borders is a fight worth fighting, and I applaud President Trump for his strong leadership in this fight,” Byrne said. “There is a humanitarian and security crisis on the border, and we must address this crisis. Democrats need to stop their petty political games and start negotiating with President Trump so we can protect the American people, secure our borders, and reopen the government.”

The government partially shut down in December after the House of Representatives passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for a border wall, but the bill failed to get the 60 votes it needed in the U.S. Senate. Since that time, negotiations to reopen the government have failed.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, posted a video response to his Twitter account.

“In my first year in the Senate, this is the third government shutdown we have seen,” Jones said. “We should be embarrassed about that. The administration should be embarrassed about that. At every opportunity I have voted to keep the government open.

“The American people are frustrated and disheartened by the dysfunction and empty rhetoric that they hear out of this town.

“We have to remember that the Senate of the United States has done its job, and done so in a deliberative and bipartisan way,” he said. “No one on either side of the political aisle should lose sight of that. We came together and found common ground, and we should insist the president of the United States not only acknowledge that, but honor that. Let’s get this government up and running and let’s sit down to continue to discuss the plans for the border security that we all know is necessary and we would like.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, did not respond on Tuesday, but said on the Sunday morning he believes a settlement of the shutdown is possible once both sides begin negotiating.

Speaking to Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Shelby said the impasse “could be settled in 24 hours if we could get together.”

“I was hoping it would not be this way, but it is,” Shelby said. “This has become a political circus. We need to get together. We need to secure our border. We’ve got to quit the political posturing and get down to rational thinking, rational discussions.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) did not immediately respond to Trump’s speech Tuesday night, but earlier in the day introduced a bill that would require the federal government to timely pay all employees who work during a government shutdown.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) also supported the president.

“President Trump’s request for funding to build a wall along our southern border is not only reasonable, it is desperately needed,” Aderholt said. “There is nothing ‘immoral’ about a nation choosing to protect its borders and thereby protect its sovereignty. What is immoral is to continue to allow a constant stream of drug traffickers, and human traffickers into the country. It is immoral to allow this unlawful door to remain open, because it encourages adults to put their children in grave danger – both from illness and from the strangers who transport them.”

Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), the only Democrat from Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives, pinned the following response to the top of her Twitter account when the government shut down before Christmas.

“We need funding for teacher pay, health care, for job skills training and access to higher ed,” she said. “We need funding for roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems. Shutting down the government over funding for a wall that the public doesn’t want is disgraceful.”

Plain and simple.”