Posted on January 28, 2019
Control over the border wall debate in Washington, D.C. needs to shift to Congress and out of Nancy Pelosi’s hands, said U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, in a FOX News appearance this past weekend.
Alexander said this as Congress has three weeks to negotiate over border security funding before the federal government possibly shuts down again.
For 20 years, members of Congress have known that a comprehensive border security plan requires more personnel, more technology, more customs agents, more border agents, and, yes, a wall, Alexander told FOX News host Maria Bartiromo.
Alexander sits on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.
“President (Donald) Trump is asking for about 234 more miles of physical barrier as part of a comprehensive plan that would not build a wall from shining sea to shining sea, as he said,” Alexander said.
“It would simply do what we’ve been doing for 20 years. I am optimistic that the committee, which, just last summer, in the Senate, approved another $1.6 billion for 65 miles of physical barrier, will be able to come up with a compromise.”
Even if Trump gets his way, about 1,000 miles of the U.S./Mexican border would still go without a wall, he said.
Alexander said Trump’s request is “very reasonable.”
“He has done what they (the opposition) asked him to do, which is to cooperate in opening up the government,” Alexander said.
“It is now time for them to be reasonable and do again what they have done for 20 years working with other presidents.”
The last four presidents, Republican and Democrat, worked with Congress to build 654 miles of a physical barrier along a 2,000 mile Southern border — before voters elected Trump in 2016, Alexander said.
Bartiromo asked Alexander if it’s possible to get the matter out of House Speaker Pelosi’s hands.
Alexander said a conference committee is ready to address the matter to recommend solutions to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
“They would be smart not to recommend something the president couldn’t sign, because, under the Constitution, if you want a law the president has to sign it,” Alexander said.
“So, they will be checking with him and, I’m sure, checking with the leaders of the Senate and the House and the Senate along the way, but it won’t be this highly publicized stuff where the president comes out and says ‘wall’ and Nancy Pelosi comes out of her office in five minutes and says ‘no wall.’ That is not the way you get a result.”
Bartiromo asked Alexander if he thinks the federal government will close yet again if Pelosi offers “no more than $1” for the wall.
Alexander said the federal government “should never close down.”
“I always vote to open the government, period,” Alexander said.
“What I hope the speaker would do, she has taken her position. The president has taken his. Now step back and let the Congress come up with a result that will allow it to happen. If we can’t do it on this, we can’t do it on anything.”