Florida’s GOP senators are frustrated by the ongoing government shutdown and the meltdown in political negotiations in Washington, D.C.
In interviews with the Florida Phoenix today, Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio both slammed the standoff between the White House and Congressional Democrats that led to the shutdown.
Meanwhile, they’re both calling for beefed up border security, which has become the sticking point in the fight.
“I think what we have to do is we have to do both. We have to reopen government, we’ve got to have border security,” Scott said outside of a Senate hearing this morning.
“I think there’s going to be lots of different ways you can do it. We need to know who’s coming into our country. We need to figure out how we can have legal immigration and not have illegal immigration.”
Scott, the former Florida governor who was sworn in last week, isn’t impressed with how the brawl over Trump’s desired funding for a border wall is playing out on Capitol Hill.
“I’ve been up here a week and what, a day? It’s surprising that it’s dysfunctional the way it is.”
Rubio, now the state’s senior senator, said he doesn’t know how the impasse might end.
“I don’t see an easy path forward,” he said. “It’s a terrible predicament we find ourselves in.”
Democrats are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a vote on government funding bills that have passed the House, but McConnell has said he doesn’t want to advance bills the president won’t sign.
Rubio agrees. “We shouldn’t be wasting time on things that he’s not going to sign,” Rubio said. “I think the only solution here is one which Democrats and the president agree on. Because it takes their votes and his signature to make it law. And right now they’re not even talking, and that’s unfortunate because you can’t fix these things without compromise and people talking to each other.”
Asked who shoulders most of the blame for the shutdown, Rubio said, “I think there’s plenty of it to go around. Obviously, I think the president could have messaged some of what he’s saying now much earlier. But at the end of the day, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s offer is that the president gets nothing. And I don’t know how you reach compromise and agreement when what you ask from the other side is unconditional surrender.”
Rubio told CNBC last week that he supports “anything that makes the border more secure.” He stressed to the Phoenix today that the $5 billion Trump is pushing for would include more than wall funding.
“You can’t have border security without there being some element of wall, but that’s not the majority of what the $5 billion is for,” Rubio said. It includes a bunch of other things, including technology, sensors, cameras, even personnel. The $5 billion is to fund the top 10 priorities of the border security plan, it is not $5 billion for a wall.”
Rubio also told CNBC that he was wary of a possible move by the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall. “We have to be careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power,” he said. “If today, the national emergency is border security … tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change.”