WASHINGTON - Both of Indiana's senators appeared on this week's edition of IN Focus to discuss the ongoing government shutdown, now stretching into its fourth week with no end in sight.
"I think the President rightly underscored in his national address this week, the importance of securing our border for the purposes of our domestic security and humanitarian purposes," said Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). “This has now become a moral issue for many Democrats. They are sort of opposed categorically to any border funding.”
“I’m hoping we reach that resolution as soon as possible but it’s happening because we’re not getting any serious attention to the issue of border security," said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who was elected to the Senate in November.
Braun recently co-introduced a proposal to prevent lawmakers from earning their pay in the midst of a government shutdown.
“My bill would be, if it makes through the gauntlet that at the end of the fiscal year if you’ve not put a budget together anybody in congress shouldn’t get a paycheck," said Braun. "I think that if you’re here and you got a year to prepare for it you need to get a budget out in regular order, or we need to start putting penalties on people who are here that don’t get the job done.”
But does the President have the right to declare the situation a national emergency to bypass Congress for border wall funding? On that question, Young and Braun were noncommittal.
"It's obviously the legislative branch's prerogative to have control over the purse, but here and now what I'm focused on is what the President is focused on, that we secure the border and open the government as soon as possible," said Young. "What I’m focused on is making sure exactly what the President is trying to make sure of and that’s we secure that border in conjunction with opening the government as quickly as possible."
“I think when you’ve had decades of a border being abused and breached it is a crisis, an emergency and it needs to be fixed," said Braun. “I hope it doesn’t go there but I think if there’s no movement on the part of the Democrats to do at least what they said they’d do so recently ago, who knows.”
Still, experts predict such a move would be met by a legal challenge in the courts.
"It could go into the courts," said Braun. "That’s kind of a calamity why should we need to go there when it should be fixed otherwise.”
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) said he supports a more comprehensive approach to border security, instead of a border wall.
"I certainly think it's a smarter strategy instead of allowing president Trump to essentially hold the American people hostage with this extortion attempt," said Carson. "There are other ways in which we can secure the border, through technological advancements, through hiring more border patrol agencies. But to build a wall sends the wrong message. A 2,000 mile wall is unacceptable."