January 25, 2019

New Democrat Coalition Chair Statement on Deal to End Longest Federal Government Shutdown in History

The President and Congressional leaders announced they would pass a bill to re-open the federal government for three weeks, ending the longest federal government shutdown in history.

On the eve of the shutdown, President Trump met with House and Senate leaders in the White House and said: “If we don’t get what we want…I am proud to shut down the government…”.

The shutdown, now on its 35th day, is the longest federal government shutdown in American history. It has caused 800,000 Americans to go without pay for a month. It led to the creation of food banks for federal workers and their families. The shutdown also led to, for the first time in American history, a branch of the Armed Forces going unpaid because of a lapse in appropriations. More than 45,000 Americans serving in the Coast Guard have not been paid.

New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06) made the following statement:

“Shutting down the government is damaging and dumb.  Federal workers, Coast Guard members and local communities shouldn’t be asked to pay the price for a failure of leadership in Washington, DC.  This isn’t a game and our neighbors aren’t pawns in a negotiation.  It’s time to restore people’s faith and get back to the ideas that make our nation exceptional—that we can solve our problems through reasoned debate and bipartisan consensus building. The government should never have closed over a policy disagreement, and it’s on every member of Congress and the President to ensure this doesn’t happen again in three weeks—or, frankly, ever.

This announcement is the first piece of good news 800,000 public servants have received in more than a month. But, there will be lasting economic consequences in our region from this shutdown. Coast Guard families have had to live under the stress of not knowing from where their next meal will come. The non-profit group that operates the ski slopes at Hurricane Ridge has lost more than 40 percent of its season, which will not be repaid. The maintenance backlog in our National Parks got even worse. The timber sale season, which tribes are counting on for annual revenue, has come and is nearly gone. And, prison guards, air traffic controllers and TSA agents have been keeping us safe while worrying about whether or not they can afford prescriptions, child care, mortgages, rent and gas while working without pay. As I said throughout this shutdown, and long before it, I am committed to working on a comprehensive, bipartisan border security package that effectively secures our nation.  That can and should happen with government open.”