Alexander Statement on Deal to Reopen the Federal Government

Posted on January 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, January 25, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after President Trump announced a deal to reopen the federal government:

“This is exactly what I voted twice to do yesterday: open the government. Now it is time for Congress to go to work and produce a bill that includes a comprehensive approach to border security including physical barriers where appropriate. That’s what we did for the last four presidents when 654 miles of physical barrier on the 1,954 mile border were approved by Congress on a bipartisan basis and that’s what we should do working with President Trump.”

Senator Alexander wrote an op-ed earlier this month for the Washington Post where he offered specific solutions to help address the humanitarian crisis and secure our border:

Go small—Give the president the $1.6 billion he asked for in this year’s budget request, which the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee approved. Provide an additional $1 billion to improve border security at ports of entry, which everyone concedes is needed.

Or even better, go bigger—Pass the bill that 54 senators voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years.

Or even better, go really big—Begin the new Congress by creating a legal immigration system that secures our borders and defines legal status for those already here. In 2013, 68 senators — including all 54 Democrats — voted for such a bill, but the House refused to take it up. That bill included more than $40 billion and many other provisions to secure our borders.


Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.