Sen. Shelby: We should try to avoid a government shutdown

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 31, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: President Trump doubling down on a shutdown. He is threatening to close our government if Democrats don’t sign on to more border security funding. He wants that wall and the money for it.

Democrats say, bad idea.

And some Republicans, like Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, agree.

Senator Shelby, good to have you here. Welcome.


REGAN: So, you are saying neither party wins in this, right? When the government shuts down, closes up shop, it’s bad for everyone. And you don’t like the political posturing that’s being used right now?

SHELBY: Well, we’re trying to avoid a situation where it would call for a government shutdown.

We have been working the appropriations process as we speak on the floor of the Senate. We’re working it together to try to stay within the appropriation bills and keep riders and authorizations off of them.

We hope to make those deadlines. I don’t know if we will make it all, but between now and October the 1st.

Now, I share some of the president’s concerned about the border. We have not protected our border for 30 or 40 years. And it’s gotten worse and worse. And he wants more money. We don’t know how we -- where we can get the money.

But, at the same time, that will be something we will have to work out between the House and the Senate. But, right now, we’re going to continue to work the appropriation process and try to avoid the specter of a shutdown come October the 1st.

REGAN: Senator Shelby, does this put more pressure on you and your colleagues, the threat of a shutdown, the president willing to put that out there as where he’s willing to go if you guys aren’t successful?

Do you feel more pressure as a result of that threat?

SHELBY: Well, pressure works. I guess fear works at time with all of us.

But we have -- we all fear a government shutdown. And we should, and we should try to avoid it. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Maybe the president is sending us a message. And I think he has sent several messages on it. He’s pretty clear.


REGAN: Yes. Yes, you could say.

What do you think it’s going to really cost? I mean, $25 billion, realistic or not?

SHELBY: Oh, I don’t have any idea.

It’s a multi-year deal. I would hope that a wall would secure the borders, but I’m not sure about it, that it will secure the borders, because people come in here flying and never leave. Probably millions of people come to this country.


SHELBY: But we have got a real immigration problem in this country. And the president is aware of it. I’m aware of it. And I hope Congress is aware of it.

REGAN: So, how do you -- how do you succeed in this effort? What is it that you can do and your colleagues can do to actually see this through to the finish line, so that you’re not looking at the possibility of a threat -- or the threat even of a shutdown as you head into midterms?

SHELBY: Well, we have got money that is what the initial number was asked for the administration in the Senate bill.

The House, I believe, has got a higher bill. We will have to resolve those differences. I think the president wants more money. And we will see what the process brings.

But, as I say again, I think a lot of the American people realize that our immigration system is broken. The president is right here that our -- we do not protect our borders. He’s right again. And we ought to do everything we can to do this.

This is a step in the right direction. Let’s see if we can make that step.

REGAN: So, Senator, what do you say to those Democrats out there that are saying we need to get rid of ICE, that we need to start over?

SHELBY: Well, we probably needed to start it over a long time ago, but now we got what it is today. We have an immigration service here. We got Border Patrols and everything.

We need to step it up. We need to protect the country. We haven’t. And we can do better. But just to start all over, I don’t know what would happen in the meantime.

REGAN: All right, well, like you said, fear, threats, sometimes, they work. So you guys have your work cut out for you.

Thank you very much for joining me today.

SHELBY: Thank you. Thank you.

REGAN: Thank you, Senator Shelby.

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