VIDEO: Capito Outlines Priorities During Conference Committee Meeting
‘Some people say reaching agreement here is a steep mountain to climb, but I’m from the Mountain State. I embrace it.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today addressed the joint Senate-House conference committee on the FY2019 Homeland Security appropriations measure, encouraging fellow conferees to work together respectfully to achieve the committee’s goal: find a bipartisan solution that addresses the needs of the Department of Homeland Security, prevents another partial government shutdown, and strengthens border security.
“I am optimistic that if we work hard and we work together, with mutual respect for each other and with a sense of duty to achieve the job we’ve been sent here to do, we can deliver an outcome that illustrates the important role the legislative branch plays in providing for our country’s priorities and avoids for the American people the unacceptable outcomes another lapse in appropriations would create,” Senator Capito said.
For a video of her full remarks, click here.
A transcript of the remarks is below:
Thank you, Madame Chair. It’s wonderful to be here with you and some of my friends from the House side, serving with many of you. I’m very pleased to be joining you.
I’m happy to be here also with my chairman, Chairman Shelby — who has done an outstanding job on the committee —along with Vice Chairman Leahy.
I would like to give a shout-out to Ranking Member Granger. We’ve been longtime friends and colleagues for many years.
It’s great to have my partner here in the Senate, Senator Tester. We decided earlier today the two of us could work this out rather quickly, working with our counterparts in the House, Ms. Roybal-Allard and also the new Ranking Member in the House, Mr. Fleischmann.
We are here to see if we can place the final, very important piece to the puzzle that is the FY19 appropriations process.
I am optimistic—and many of us have expressed optimism—that if we work hard and we work together, with mutual respect for one another and with a sense of duty to achieve the job we’ve been sent here to do, we can deliver an outcome that illustrates the important role the legislative branch plays in providing for our country’s priorities and avoids for the American people the unacceptable outcomes another lapse in appropriations would create.
One of the proposals recently considered by the Senate is a solution that was built upon a strong foundation. Senator Tester and I laid that foundation last June when our bill advanced through the Senate Appropriations Committee on a broad bipartisan vote of 26 to 5.
Of the Senators seated on this Conference Committee, six out of seven of us voted in favor of the Capito-Tester bill.
We’re still working on Senator Durbin.
Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees embrace the idea that we produce legislation — one time a year — hopefully every time — that reflects very careful choices based on the most recent and accurate information we have.
That’s what we are here to do today: build on the work we’ve already done in a thoughtful and informed way.
The situation at our border, as we’ve all acknowledged, has been changing.
Both the data we receive and the law enforcement professionals we talk to are telling us that very fact over and over.
To respond to these changes, they are asking us for increased investments across the spectrum of border security and immigration enforcement:
More technology, more personnel, and more infrastructure — including physical barriers — where it makes sense.
Past investments we’ve made have worked.
They have caused illegal activity to shift to different parts of the borders. We have to choose a strong all-of-the-above strategy to keep pace with these changes.
Making that choice should not be political.
We also have to keep up with the other changes the Department of Homeland Security faces.
Whether we’re talking about maritime security, transportation security, cybersecurity, disaster relief, or the missions of the Secret Service, we Appropriators are charged with making smart, up-to-date choices.
That’s why the work of this Conference Committee is so very important.
It may be the last best chance we have during this process to apply the significant knowledge that we all have around these tables to make these important decisions.
Some people say reaching agreement is a steep mountain to climb, but I’m from the Mountain State, and I embrace that.
So to Chairwoman Lowey and Chairman Shelby, and the rest of the members of this Committee, my message is simple:
I’m ready to go to work with all of you to deliver a product that reflects the priorities of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the serious and thoughtful insight of those of us who have been chosen for this task.
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