Congressman Marsha Blackburn
7th District of Tennessee
Washington, D.C. – As many of you know, last Friday at midnight, the government shut down. The Democrats in the Senate showed their constituents, and every American, that they chose to forgo funding for our military, our elderly, and our children in order to fulfill their political agenda.
And if you remember, this was an agenda that President Trump was very clear on. The President told the Democrats that if they wanted a DACA deal, then they had to come to the negotiation table. Once there was funding for the border wall, an end to chain migration, and an end of the visa lottery system, President Trump would allow a DACA deal.
Instead, the Democrats showed that they do not believe in compromise. They showed that they do not believe in our borders or the security of every American. Instead, they played politics. What was at stake? Six more years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
What really upset me so much was that our military could not get paid. These brave men and women, who sacrifice so much for our freedom, who put their lives on the line in order for us to be protected, were pushed aside. I wrote a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer, and asked him to withhold my paycheck for the duration of the shutdown. If the military was not going to get paid, I do not think Congress should either.
The Senate Democrats finally got their acts together, and President Donald Trump signed the bill that will fund the government for three more weeks, until February 8th. So many of you have called our offices, wanting to know why the federal government cannot pass a budget, and instead continues passing Continuing Resolutions.
I agree with you. The government has a spending problem, and we must address it. Our federal debt is not only reckless, it is immoral. As elected leaders, we need to take a hard look at where we can cut spending. We owe it to the taxpayers to spend their money on programs that they want. We cannot continue down this road. It is time for us to finally pass a budget that is in line with what the American people want.
What’s Next for DACA
DACA is unconstitutional. President Barack Obama usurped Congress’ legislative role and formed the program through executive action. He did not have the power to do this, but pushed it through anyway.
If you remember, back in 2014, I tried to end the DACA program. This week on social media, I posted a video of me with the bill number H.R. 5272, which was my bill that would have frozen the DACA program until we worked through these issues. The Senate failed to pick up this bill, which we passed in the House in 2014, and again in 2015.
Many of you have called and asked what is now going to happen with the DACA deal. There have been a lot of articles that Republicans in Congress are caving on this deal and will give the Democrats what they want without the three things we want. Let me be clear: this is not true.
The Republicans in the House have been very clear, along with the President’s statements on the issue, that there will be no deal without three things: funding for the border wall, and end to the visa lottery system, and an end to chain migration. These three things threaten our national security each and every day.
Finally, let me be very clear with you about something I will never cave on. Those who have come to the United States and have spent years and thousands of dollars going through the legal immigration system, absolutely cannot be cut in line. This is not fair. What type of example do we set to the rest of the world if we allow this to happen? We are a nation of laws, and we must abide by the laws. This very idea is lawless and will cause even more problems in our immigration system.
Release the Memo
I personally read the four page FISA memo. Afterwards, I posted a video where I was very clear where I stood: I fully believe the House Intelligence Committee should make the memo public. The American people deserve transparency, and they want answers. We are a government elected by the people and for the people. We should never lose sight of this crucial principle for our republic.
Many of you have called saying that you would like this memo to be released. For this to happen, the House Intelligence Committee will have to vote for it to be made public. I, along with many of my colleagues, have called on them to make this happen. If the Committee votes for its release, then the President has five days to veto it, and if not, it will become public. Should he veto it, the full House can vote to override the veto and release the memo.
The FBI is not above the law, and if there was wrongdoing, you need to know about it. In order for us to function as a country, we need to trust our law enforcement agencies. For this to happen, there needs to be transparency and accountability.
Many of you are concerned, as am I, that there is too much power in the hands of a few. This is why Congress must do its job, as elected officials, to provide our constituents with the information they need when it appears federal power was abused. I will continue to do everything within my power to voice my support for releasing the memo. I will also continue to work to bring transparency and accountability to all areas of the government.
The American people entrust us to act on their behalf. Thank you for your calls, emails, and letters on this matter. Hopefully, you will have answers soon.