“The first order of business is doing our duty to secure the world.”

Tillis Shares His Thoughts on Senate Agenda in the Months Ahead

WASHINGTON, DC – With Congress stuck in legislative limbo and a possible government shutdown less than a month away, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society this past Thursday morning to discuss not only the recent effort to pass a border security agreement, but some other critical issues he would like to see addressed in the weeks and months ahead.

“If you all see James Lankford, thank him,” Tillis said, referring to the Oklahoma Senator who has been the lead Republican negotiator on the border security package and has taken the heat from those in his party who argue the package is insufficient and doesn’t get the job done.  “I believe it’s sound policy.  But at the end of the day, we have to have a majority of our conference for it to be worthwhile.

“I’ve said that publicly for a long time. The threshold that you need for votes in one chamber or another is like a fingerprint. It changes every Congress.  Last Congress, I was known to get 12 to 15 people together and help with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the CHIPS Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Respect for Marriage Act, the Electoral Count Act, and a couple of others.  We didn’t need 25 then because we had a different mix to get something to the President’s desk.

“In this cycle, I think it would be irresponsible on something like border security to not have gotten more than half of our conference – a majority of our conference.  And we couldn’t do it.  I reject the narrative that everybody hated the bill. The fact of the matter is we were thinking strategically. And unless we had a majority to put pressure on our colleagues in the House to say, ‘The majority of U.S. Senators support this bill,’ it just didn’t make sense.

“That’s why we are where we are. But people should disabuse themselves of the notion that only four people supported that border policy.   We were working for an outcome. We were working to make a difference, not a point.  Time has passed, and we weren’t able to get it done. And it’s a shame because I think that we’ll regret not having some of those capabilities on the books should Donald Trump get into the White House.

“But we are where we are.  We need to move on, get the supplemental done, get Ukraine done, Taiwan and Israel, and ideally try and avoid a government shutdown in about three weeks.  A couple other things, too.  But right now, the first order of business is doing our duty to secure the world.”

Following his opening remarks, Tillis took a number of questions, including one about America’s domestic manufacturing sector and the strength of the global supply chain, and whether the U.S. should de-link from China as a way to strengthen this sector and shore up this chain in the months and years ahead.

“We stress tested [the supply chain] with Covid, and it failed the stress test,” Tillis observed.  “Now, we can no longer trust China. Now, we know that they’ll use their manufacturing links in the supply chain as a strategic weapon.  Don’t forget that they withheld PPEs, and they started playing games.  So, we know that they’re a threat. Should we de-link entirely?  Am I one that wants zero investment in China?  No.  That is dumb-minded and unsustainable.”

“One of my favorite pictures from China is of a little girl wearing a Wonder Woman costume and holding a Captain America shield from a Disney Park in China.  Hell, I want to export all that kind of culture to those folks. You think that little girl’s going to aspire to be the leader of the Communist Chinese party?  Probably not. Giving people in China a taste of what democracy and what western democracy looks like is a righteous investment.

“For us to have that access, there’s going to have to be some give and take with other investments in China.  But just don’t get on the bandwagon of exiting. You’ve got the hearts and minds of over a billion people that you can influence by being there. And you know, 90 percent of success in life is showing up. And I think our investment – our presence in China – is critically important.”

To view Senator Tillis’ remarks before The Ripon Society this past Thursday, please click the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.