November 9, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday on the Senate Floor, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) slammed Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for playing games with the Senate calendar in the leadup to another potential government shutdown.
“The September shutdown faceoff proved there’s no time to waste,” Ricketts said. “Most Americans work Monday-Friday. In Nebraska, many of my constituents work longer hours than that. The U.S. Senate should work Monday-Friday. I know it’s a crazy idea. But we can be here all week like normal Americans. We can work 8am until 5 or 6pm like most Americans do. We should remain in D.C. until we complete our work funding the government and securing the border. It’s not a radical idea to suggest that we should have an open government and a closed border. So, I’ll close with this: let’s vote!”
In September, Ricketts condemned the “broken process” leading up to the first government shutdown faceoff of the year. In October, Ricketts led 16 Senators in calling for Leader Schumer to keep the Senate in session five days a week until the appropriations process is completed.
Watch the video HERE.
Senator Ricketts: “Thank you, Mr. President.
“Our nation is facing many challenges at this point.
“And yet, this week, the Majority Leader doesn’t have us addressing them.
“Look around this room. There’s nobody here.
“We should be voting here, Monday through Friday until we get our work done.
“We have a national debt of that is almost 34 trillion dollars.
“That is $256,000 per household.
“That’s about equal to a second mortgage for homeowners in Nebraska.
“We also have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.
“I was just down there for the fourth time.
“What I saw was a humanitarian disgrace.
“Record numbers of illegal immigrants are crossing the border.
“Children are being trafficked. People are dying. Cartels are profiting.
“The Biden administration is directly responsible for this humanitarian crisis. They should be ashamed of themselves.
“The Biden administration’s policies are also a major security crisis.
“A record number of encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list has gone up – when that number used to be single digits – just in the past few years.
“Washington has an important role in dealing with these challenges.
“The ideal time to address them is through the appropriations process.
“As we all know, Congress must pass 12 appropriations bills every year, and this would avoid a government shutdown.
“This year, for the first time in five years, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed out all 12 of those appropriations bills.
“The first two came out June 22nd. The other ten came in July.
“For months, the Majority Leader has refused to bring those bills to the floor for votes.
“We could have been amending those bills. Debating those bills. And then voting on those bills.
“Instead, he has played games with the Senate calendar to try and force a false choice between a shutdown and more big government spending.
“As a result, we have missed the deadline for regular order.
“The short-term bill we passed that funds the government runs out on November 17th.
“That’s just a little over a week from today.
“Once again, we’re on the brink of another government shutdown and the Majority Leader is still playing the same games.
“We should be debating, we should be amending, we should be voting on legislation to fund the government and secure our border right now.
“Instead, we’ve spent the entire week voting on nominations for a few blue state judges and the appointment for someone to the National Institutes of Health.
“And if that wasn’t bad enough, once again, the Majority Leader will be sending us home on Thursday afternoon for the weekend.
“The Majority Leader should have kept the Senate in session Monday through Friday every week until all appropriations bills were passed.
“Instead, he chose to recess early or start voting late week after week after week.
“He could have cancelled our October state work period like the House did.
“Many of my colleagues joined me in asking him to do so.
“He did not.
“The September shutdown faceoff proved there’s no time to waste.
“Most Americans work Monday-Friday.
“In Nebraska, many of my constituents work longer hours than that.
“The U.S. Senate should work Monday-Friday. I know it’s a crazy idea. But we can be here all week like normal Americans. We can work 8am until 5 or 6pm like most Americans do.
“We should remain in D.C. until we complete our work funding the government and securing the border.
“It’s not a radical idea to suggest that we should have an open government and a closed border.
“So, I’ll close with this: let’s vote!
“Let’s do what it takes to get the job done for our constituents.
“I am committed to working with my colleagues to deliver meaningful results.
“Nebraskans and Americans across the country deserve no less.
“Madam President, I yield the floor.”