Scalise: The Border Must Be Secured
Washington, September 27, 2023
Today, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), and Congressman Michael Cloud (R-Texas) to stress the urgency of addressing the issues that matter to American families: securing our border, having a strong national defense, and stopping reckless, wasteful, and unsustainable spending. Leader Scalise slammed Democrats and the White House for doing nothing to secure the border and refusing to cut spending in favor of reckless borrowing that would add trillions more to our national debt and leave our grandchildren to foot the bill. Leader Scalise also shared an update on his health and the successful conclusion of his first round of chemotherapy as he manages multiple myeloma.
Click here or the image above to view Leader Scalise's full remarks.
Leader Scalise's remarks:
“If I can, just for a couple of minutes — just to share a little bit of a health update with you that I shared with my colleagues this morning at conference, and then obviously we'll get into the issues of the day and the week, and take your questions.
“I, a little over a month ago, was diagnosed with myeloma as you well know, but we had quick decisions to make in the hospital and that was do we go into an aggressive form of chemotherapy? And luckily, my oncologist in New Orleans, who we continue to consult with on a very regular basis, has been phenomenal at walking me through what I need to do to first focus on my health, because that has been the main focus: [H]ow do we address the cancer? Because the cancer is what put me in the hospital and was doing a lot of damage to my body, and so we had to get control over that and have a plan.
“And luckily, they had a plan. They had treatments that have been approved by the [Food and Drug Administration] for many, many years on this form of cancer that many, many people have been using for decades. Thank God, and I have made a decision to aggressively pursue it and I'm a month into the treatments and the way that it works with this form of cancer is it goes in about a little over [three-and-a-half] week treatments and then they want to evaluate and see how your body's responding, if they need to make tweaks, and then you go to another three-and-a-half week round of treatment for a period of months until they feel like you don't need to take the treatments anymore because you have adequately attacked the cancer. So we're a month in now. Last week, I did a full round of evaluations. That's where I was: Working with my doctors running a whole lot of tests. They came back with the tests. The good news is the cancer has dropped dramatically because of the success of the chemotherapy attacking the cancer. So thank God, those prayers have been answered. We're continuing to follow my doctor's advice and my doctor said, ‘You can come back to work,’ and that's why I'm here.
“And we are here for a full week of work and whatever else it's going to take, but obviously there's been a lot of work going on. A lot of it, I've been doing by phone. It's a lot nicer to be doing it here in-person with my colleagues and, as I thanked [House Rules Committee Chair] Cole and the Rules Committee for the work that they did, not just passing a rule, but think of all the work that the [House Committee on Rules] did, putting together a rule that brought four bills to the Floor this week, and working with a lot of members, bringing over 440 different amendments to the Floor that we started debating last night. We were here till about 12:30 [A.M.] last night voting on a number of those amendments. We'll have two long vote series today. With two-minute votes, we're able to accomplish a lot. We'll hopefully do a long vote series probably around 4:30 [P.M.] and then this evening, depending on how many votes we get through, [there] might be a late night 10:30 [P.M.] or so vote series, and just keep working through the amendments and then finally get to final passage on the four bills.
“The question you will ask is, ‘Do you have the votes to pass the bill?’ Those are all fair questions. One thing you don't hear a lot [about] is what is in the bills. You know, these are four bills that — combined — will fund about 75 percent of the government as we're talking about, ‘Is there going to be a shutdown? Is [the] government going to be funded? What are the priorities of the American people in funding the government?’ And frankly, that's what we've been focusing our time on, with [Congressman] Cloud and the appropriators. With [Majority Whip] Emmer as the Whip putting together the coalitions. What [Chairman] Cole and the Rules Committee have been doing. All of the focus from Speaker McCarthy on down has been: Number one, how do we make government address the needs of the people? And really what the people have been saying is, ‘Let's get to pre-COVID levels on spending because we can't just keep writing blank checks.’
“This idea all week you're hearing from Democrats: All they want to talk about is how much more money to spend as if there's money sitting in a piggy bank. This is mostly borrowed money that they're talking about and, by the way, it's not borrowed money from ourselves. It's borrowed money from our grandchildren. So every time you hear a Democrat walking around D.C. this week going on, ‘I can't believe that's going to be cut.’ Say, ‘Okay, are you comfortable sending the bill on a credit card to your grandchildren?’ Because that's what they're doing. They're not paying for it today. They're not paying for it tomorrow. They want to track another two trillion dollars in debt that's going to be sent to our grandchildren to pay for things that government wasn't doing just two years ago. We need to get our government back, focused on the things that matter to families in America: Having a strong national defense and having a strong, closed border. And we're going to be focusing a lot on getting this border under control, even though President Biden doesn't want to.
“You're even seeing people like Jeh Johnson, who was the Homeland Security Secretary under [President] Obama, who started working on securing the border. [President] Trump secured the border. [President] Biden opened up America's border [with] devastating consequences. Has anybody asked the President, ‘What is your plan to do with eight million people that you've led into this country illegally, whatever the real number is, you know, you show me what your number is.’ Estimates are in the millions. And mayors all across America — including Democrat mayors all across America — are saying, ‘Enough is enough. This crisis has to end and President Biden doesn't care.’
“Well, House Republicans do and we are dealing with this issue. If you look at one of the things that's included in the rule we passed last night, and the bills we're going to be bringing to the Floor this week — including the homeland security funding bill — it deals with securing the border. [Congressman] Joyce's bill, combined with H.R. 2, it's all part of the rule that we put in a package. H.R. 2 focuses on more border agents, technology, [and] things that need to be done that were working. Many of these things were already being done. Some of them are new technologies, new things that our border agents are telling us they need. You talk to border agents. They know what the problems are.
“President Biden doesn't want to listen to them. The Vice President won't listen to them because they don't want to solve the problem. We do. And we're going to be focusing on not just properly funding the government but securing America's border. Both of those debates need to happen this week. You're gonna see a robust debate on the House Floor all week through today, tomorrow, and as long as it takes to address these serious problems. That's what House Republicans are focused on. And frankly, I think it's changing the narrative. You're seeing it on every mainstream media outlet. Every media outlet is covering this crisis because everyone in America knows it's a crisis, and the President thinks if he hides from the issue, it will go away. The issue is not going away. We're bringing it to the White House because we're addressing it in the government funding package this week. This issue is not going to go away because we hear about the issue just like Americans do. And President Biden is going to have to care about it as well once we pass these bills.”