WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called today’s vote by the Senate on an appropriations compromise package positive for Maryland, our country and federal workers. The legislation, which passed the Senate 83-16, next will be voted on by the House of Representatives. Senator Cardin also responded to Senator Mitch McConnell’s announcement that President Trump would sign the bill and simultaneously issue an emergency declaration for the southern border.
“There is no such thing as a ‘good’ government shutdown. I was glad to see President Trump and congressional Republicans finally learn that lesson. This is not a perfect funding bill, but it injects stability into our regional and national economies by funding the federal government and key programs through the end of the current fiscal year. The bill provides a reasonable cost-of-living adjustment to our hardworking federal employees in Maryland and across the country, funds important transportation grants, and holds the line on funding for important environmental and public health programs, such as those of the EPA that had been in the budget-cutting cross hairs of President Trump. Once again, Congress ensured that science and policy were higher priorities than campaign rhetoric. Among many other priorities, Congress also is providing additional funds for lead contamination testing in schools and lead reduction projects in rural areas and elsewhere.
“The very nature of how President Trump decided finally to declare a so-called emergency at our southern border shows how he, too, knows that there is no real national emergency at our southern border. In fact, border apprehensions have dramatically dropped from roughly 1.6 million in fiscal year 2000 to approximately 400,000 in fiscal year 2018. We know that a medieval border wall would be a tremendously wasteful expenditure of resources, as opposed to smarter border security technology that would enhance screening at our ports of entry and specifically target trans-national criminal operations smuggling contraband into the United States. The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power of appropriations. Congress and the courts should take all necessary action to overturn any unlawful presidential declarations on border security under the National Emergencies Act or other authorities. Instead of trying to raid funds that have been designated for critical military construction and environmental projects, the president should work with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”