Murkowski Statement on Voting to Reopen the Government and Address Border Security
Leads Bipartisan Group on Commitment to Work Together to End Shutdown
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today voted on two measures to reopen the government. The first measure included an omnibus funding bill which combines all seven remaining appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2019, a $12.7 billion disaster aid package, and three years of relief for enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and immigrants receiving Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The second measure, a short-term continuing resolution, would continue Fiscal Year 2018 funding levels through February 8, including an extension of border security funding. Both measures failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance.
Immediately following the Senate votes, Senator Murkowski joined Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) in leading a bipartisan colloquy on the Senate floor, of seventeen Senators, to speak to their commitment to engage in negotiations on border security enhancements and support for passage of a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government and end the shutdown.
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“While both of these measures were imperfect, they would have immediately reopened the government, and ensured that tens of thousands of federal employees and contractors receive their paychecks. From individual industries such as aviation and fisheries to entire communities-- Alaskans are facing widespread, detrimental impacts as a result of the partial government shutdown,” said Senator Murkowski. “Active duty USCG members are still hard at work—maintaining National Security and protecting life and property in Alaska, the country, and overseas. Thousands more are either working without pay, or are furloughed and unable to do their jobs. Whether it is TSA workers, Air Traffic Controllers, or those who have oversight of our fisheries at NOAA and NMFS, the list goes on. While these measures did not advance today, everybody—from both sides of the aisle, both chambers, and the administration—will come together to find a path forward. I am committed to finding a way to get the government open and end this shutdown as soon as possible. We owe it to the American people.”
U.S. Senator Murkowski has cosponsored the following legislative efforts.
- Government Employee Fair Treatment Act: Requires that federal workers who have been furloughed during the current partial shutdown be retroactively paid after the shutdown ends, with that pay as well as the compensation of "essential" employees who worked during the shutdown to be paid as soon as possible, regardless of scheduled federal pay dates. This bill has been signed into law.
- Pay our Coast Guard Act: Championed by Senator Sullivan (R-AK), the legislation ensures that members of the Coast Guard are paid during any lapses in federal appropriations. The Coast Guard budget is included in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations, while the other remaining branches of military are funded through the already approved Department of Defense appropriations bill.
- Pay Excepted Personnel Act: Authorizes federal agencies affected by the current government shutdown to pay the federal personnel that continue to come to work each day and serve the United States. This bill will relieve the burden on individuals who are performing critical services, such as law enforcement and security missions, as negotiations to open the government continue.
- End Government Shutdowns Act: Permanently prevents the federal government from shutting down, ensuring that essential government services aren’t disrupted and protecting taxpayers who must bear the resulting cost. The measure will create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill or existing CR, keeping the federal government open when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines.