Alexander Statement on Presidential Address on Border Security

Posted on January 9, 2019

WASHINGTON, January 9, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after President Trump’s Oval Office address on border security:

“When the president of the United States has a legitimate objective—which in this case is increased funding for border security, including a physical barrier—members of Congress should bend over backwards to accommodate it, especially when they've voted for that same policy in the past.

“I've suggested three specific solutions for ending the partial government shutdown:

  1. 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.
  2. Go bigger: Pass the bill that 54 senators—including 46 Democrats—voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years. The bill failed only because of last-minute White House opposition.
  3. 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.”

Senator Alexander wrote an op-ed last week for the Washington Post where he offered specific solutions for resolving the current shutdown.


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.