I said repeatedly, during the recent funding impasse, that the sensible outcome would be a compromise on border security that funded physical barriers where Customs and Border Protection deemed it necessary. While the amount for a physical barrier on the southern border as agreed to in the just-enacted government funding bill was lower than I thought optimal, $1.4 billion is such a compromise.
I'm pleased there won't be another partial government shutdown, but it was irresponsible for Congress to pass, without scrutiny, or opportunity for amendments, 1,700-plus pages of spending including hundreds of millions on wasteful and ineffective programs.
Excessive spending in the bill includes $10 million for environmental programming at the UN, billions for ‘economic development' projects that have historically gone to things like sidewalks and swimming pools, and nearly $200 million for government land purchases despite the government's neglect of hundreds of millions of acres in its possession.
Clearly there was no serious attempt to curb Washington's addiction to overspending. Instead, this bill added to our mounting debt, and I could not support it.
The responsible way to fund the government is to do each appropriations bill individually, giving members the opportunity to scrutinize and amend each bill. In 2018, we made progress toward this goal with the enactment of five individual appropriations bills well before the end of the fiscal year. This year, Congress should do this for the entire government. I will continue fighting for a normal appropriations process and urge my colleagues to join me in restoring fiscal sanity to the federal funding process.
Regarding President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency upon signing this spending bill, I made no secret of the fact that I hoped the president would choose to avoid unilateral action and work with Congress on a legislative solution to secure the border. My staff and I are reviewing the president's declaration and its implications very closely.