Barrasso On Borders: Prefers Legislative Process Over National Emergency
Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso says he's "cautiously optimistic" that Congressional negotiators will come to an agreement over border security and immigration enforcement, ahead of a Friday deadline to avoid another government shutdown.
"Things are moving in the right direction. I talked to the chairman of the committee who's overseeing this, their 17 members who are negotiating this," said Barrasso in an interview with Townsquare Media. "In terms of a shutdown, I think that nobody benefits from a shutdown. I don't want to see another one, I didn't want to see the last one."
As to the question whether the President should declare a national emergency to accomplish his goal, Barrasso says his recommendation is that if the negotiators can come to an agreement, the President should accept that and sign it.
"Just like Ronald Reagan used to say, 'if you don't get the whole loaf the first time, sometimes you have to take it a slice at a time.' Take what is given, make sure the government is funded to the end of the fiscal year, those seven appropriation bills that are part of the agreement. And then, if there's not enough to meet what you have requested, there are other ways to do it."
Barrasso said that could include re-appropriating money that's already been appropriated elsewhere. If that still wasn't enough, the President has the option of the "emergency effort" but he doesn't think that's the best answer.
"I would prefer we get it done through the legislative process rather than a presidential emergency because I just think that's not the path we want to do down," said Barrasso, "and the president or every president can decide if they want to use that or not. Presidents have used it in the past on things were there was complete bipartisan agreement. This is, at this point, disagreement on how to proceed so I think it would be the best for the President if he could get what we can get through this agreement, and then re-purpose other money to accomplish every goal that he has lined out in terms of border security."
Meantime, Barrasso, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, and others have introduced legislation that would prevent government shutdowns.
"Until you come to an agreement it stays open, you cut some spending across the board but keep the government functioning until agreement is reached," said Barrasso. "I think that's what a mature governing body ought to do."