Fighting Back: “Quit holding the paychecks of 800,000 government workers hostage!”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Scott Peters of San Diego discussing the real crises caused by Trump’s demand for an “impossible wall”.

(Rep. Scott Peters discusses Democrats’ support for smart, effective border security solutions and calls on President Trump and Senator McConnell to re-open government now.)

“The one truth the President did state is that there is a crisis at the border.

“There is a humanitarian crisis created by him.

“It’s a crisis when the President threatens to shut down the nation’s legal immigration and asylum process over a border wall that is really just a campaign gimmick.

“It a crisis when the President spends 72 million of your tax dollars to send our military to the border to confront a threat that didn’t exist, like he did in November, as a political stunt to rally the base.

“It’s a crisis when this Administration is allowing women and children – babies – to be dumped on American streets in the middle of the night with nothing more than the clothes on their back, without food, money, health screenings, or plans to get them to their destinations.

“And there is a crisis, when a government shutdown means that 800,000 federal workers are denied a paycheck this week, and now can’t pay their mortgage or rent, student loans, or medical expenses, hurting their credit rating because our President won’t budge on his impossible wall.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Scott Peters Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Scott Peters and I represent San Diego, California in the United States Congress.

“When I first came to Congress in 2013, I asked the president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in San Diego – who also happens to be the city’s Republican former Mayor and Police Chief – what’s the number one thing the federal government could do to promote job growth in our region. He said we needed to make a federal investment in critical infrastructure at our border with Mexico.

“But this former Police Chief wasn’t asking for a wall.

“He was asking for a gateway – a bridge, and improved customs facilities at the San Ysidro Port of Entry because long delays at the vehicle crossing were costing our region billions of dollars in economic activity and 60,000 jobs per year.

“Working together, San Diego’s Congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats, secured the additional $442-million in federal investment to modernize the San Ysidro Port of Entry. It is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, where commercial trade between San Diego and Tijuana is valued at $2.1 million per day.

“Our nation’s investments in Ports of Entry support a thriving international economy. They also provide critical border security. Customs agents inspect, weigh and x-ray vehicles and bags. They make sure travelers have proper identification and valid visas – that they are properly vetted and screened before entering the United States.

“215,000 tons of hard drugs were intercepted at ports of entry from 2012 to 2016. Agents at our ports everyday arrest criminals, seize narcotics and guns and deny admission to people they identify as a threat to national security.

“That’s what real border security looks like, and I can tell you that San Diegans want that border security. But we do not want a wall.

“In the last Congress, my colleagues Pete Aguilar of California, a Democrat, and Will Hurd of Texas, a Republican, proposed legislation with wide bipartisan support that included border security measures we could all agree on.

“It would have directed Homeland Security to perform a mile-by-mile assessment of our entire southern border to determine the most practical and effective way to secure it, and to offer Congress a strategy for each section of the border.

“It might be state-of-the-art technologies to detect tunnels, because even in places where we have a fence, as we do in San Diego, it’s easy to dig tunnels underneath.

“It might be sensors and radar to spot moving people and objects in any weather or time of day.

“It might be cameras mounted on drones to surveil places where the terrain is tough to monitor.

“Or, it might be, a physical barrier, such as a levee or fence if that makes sense in some places. But if Homeland Security wanted to recommend something as expensive as a wall in a particular place, they’d have to justify the extra expense against other less costly tools.

“In the last Congress, 193 Congressional Democrats and 23 Republicans acted to force a vote on these smart approaches to border security. But unfortunately, Republican leadership did not allow a vote on our bipartisan bill, but I bet most Democrats would support these measures in this Congress this year.

“So, when President Trump says Democrats are against border security and for open borders, he’s lying.

“We do not support a multi-billion dollar wall that will destroy sensitive lands, take private property, and can be tunneled under, climbed over or cut through, all while illegal border crossings have steadily declined over the past two decades. No. That’s not border security. That’s borderline crazy.

“The one truth the President did state is that there is a crisis at the border.

“There is a humanitarian crisis created by him.

“It’s a crisis when the President threatens to shut down the nation’s legal immigration and asylum process over a border wall that is really just a campaign gimmick.

“It a crisis when the President spends 72 million of your tax dollars to send our military to the border to confront a threat that didn’t exist, like he did in November, as a political stunt to rally the base.

“It’s a crisis when this Administration is allowing women and children – babies – to be dumped on American streets in the middle of the night with nothing more than the clothes on their back, without food, money, health screenings, or plans to get them to their destinations.

“And there is a crisis, when a government shutdown means that 800,000 federal workers are denied a paycheck this week, and now can’t pay their mortgage or rent, student loans, or medical expenses, hurting their credit rating because our President won’t budge on his impossible wall.

“And by the way, this shutdown includes the Coast Guard, which is a cornerstone of our border security. How stupid is that?

“Mr. President, Senator McConnell – Democrats have laid out for you several border security measures we can all get behind. Let’s re-open the government and talk about these ideas and quit holding the paychecks of 800,000 federal workers hostage to a wall that is never going to get built.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning. This week the House Democrats are continuing to pass Senate Republican language. As I said in my Opening Day remarks, we want to accept good ideas wherever they come from, if they’re a solution. And so, in that spirit, we accepted the Senate Republican language for bills that had passed the Senate 92 to 6. Strong bipartisan support. We’re putting those on the floor each day.

Yesterday, we did the legislation to open up the Treasury Department, to make sure that people there are able to come to work and be paid as they meet the needs of the American people, including, but not confined to, getting their refunds, or getting a small business SBA loan, answering questions for taxpayers who are calling in – the full function of the Treasury Department. You can’t say to the Treasury Department: ‘Come in. Do the job. You’re not going to get paid.’ That’s what the President is saying.

And today, we will have the agriculture bill, the bill that covers the Department of Agriculture, on the floor, so that we can address the farmers’ safety net. They are expecting, and not receiving, what the President promised when he did his, shall we say, misinformed trade policies. They also have subsidies and other needs as they plan for the growing season. And food safety inspections, food stamps, all the rest, being held up by the President’s petulance.

Again, today we’ll do – this week we’ll vote on Transportation and HUD to prevent families from being evicted from their homes. There’s so much that HUD has to do with housing in our country that is forestalled by the President’s obstinance. And then we will do Interior Department legislation on Friday.

Next week, we’ll proceed with legislation that did not pass the full Senate yet, but very strongly came out of committee – in fact, with the vote in some cases, where he is on the committee, of Mitch McConnell.

So, we’re just saying to them: Take ‘yes’ for an answer. This is what you have proposed. Why are you rejecting it at the expense of the health, safety and well-being of the American people? Did you take an oath to the Constitution or an oath to Donald Trump?

And these families, these families, many of them veterans, are not able to meet their mortgage payment, their rent payment, their car payment, harming their own credit ratings. You’re no friend of veterans if you harm their credit rating, and that’s exactly what the President is doing.

He’s also harming the full faith and credit of the United States of America and our credit rating if he lets this go on with statements so irresponsible, saying: ‘I’ll let this go on for months or years.’ Months or years, the President of the United States.

And so, he’s endangering the safety of our food supply, the security of our airlines, vulnerable families, nutrition assistance, tax refunds and the paycheck of 800,000 innocent families. What did they do to deserve this?

Of course, the President doesn’t believe in governance, so he doesn’t care if governance doesn’t take place. He doesn’t appreciate the role of public policy in the lives of the American people. But, in addition to that, what he is proposing is not the best way for us to secure our borders.

And let me just make a clarity. Not only was the President un-presidential – surprise, surprise – yesterday in his behavior. I think the meeting was a set up so he could walk out, I’ll say just that.

And as I said to him yesterday: ‘These people cannot go to their fathers to cover their payments, their costs.’ Can you? Can any of you, if this happened to you? If you can, good luck, that’s wonderful for you. But that doesn’t speak for most families in our country.

But the fact is, is that what the President is proposing is not the best way to protect our borders.

And I want to correct the record. He has not told the truth when he said he asked me if, in 30 days, I would support border security, and I said no. He knows, the people in the room know, that that was not what happened.

What he said: ‘In 30 days, will you support a wall?’ and I said, ‘No.’ He went out and said something completely different, because he knows we all support border security and that there’s a better way to do it.

He talks about drugs coming into the country. Ninety percent of the drugs come in through the ports of entry. So, what we are proposing is to build the infrastructure of the ports of entry, strengthen that, the ports of entry. Spend the money, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars, but accessible, to have the scanning technology, to scan cars coming through for drugs, contraband of any kind, weapons even. Repair the roads to facilitate immigration and trade in those regions. The positive, shall we say, almost technological wall that can be built is what we should be doing.

I don’t even know if the President wants the wall. I think he just wants the debate on the wall, and he’s having some difficulty with it. Because now – would you think a person who has confidence in the strength of his own arguments, with those he’s debating with or with the American people – if you have confidence in your own position, why would you say: ‘I have to shut down government so that people will heed what I am saying’? It’s a bad thing.

Yesterday, we also had legislation on the floor to stop the assault, the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act. 192 Republicans voted to undermine the pre-existing condition benefit, to lifetime limits, the ban on lifetime limits. They voted to stop the expansion of Medicaid. They voted to impede health insurance affordability, tax credits, and of course the benefit of kids up to 26-years-old being on their family’s policies, and other things.

Only three Republicans voted against that. And that was a vote for us to continue our legal arguments against the case that the Republicans have brought.

On the campaign trail, they said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re for the pre-existing condition’ – 192 of them voted against it yesterday.

So in any case, just to go recap in terms of the soap opera that the President’s petulance and obstinance is creating. We all support border security. We take an oath to protect and defend the American people and to defend the Constitution as we do so. And that’s what this debate is about.

There’s a better way, a more effective way to protect, to secure our borders, and that is what the debate should be about. If you believe in your arguments and you’re convinced that you’re right and you think you can persuade others, you don’t have to shut down government to strengthen your hand.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

House Committee Chairs in the 116th Congress

Collin Peterson, Agriculture Committee
Nita Lowey, Appropriations Committee
Adam Smith, Armed Services Committee
John Yarmuth, Budget Committee
Bobby Scott, Education and Labor Committee
Frank Pallone, Energy and Commerce Committee
Ted Deutch, Ethics Committee
Maxine Waters, Financial Services Committee
Eliot Engel, Foreign Affairs Committee
Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security Committee
Zoe Lofgren, House Administration Committee
Carolyn Maloney, Joint Economic Committee
Jerry Nadler, Judiciary Committee
Raúl Grijalva, Natural Resources Committee
Elijah Cummings, Oversight and Reform Committee
Adam Schiff, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Jim McGovern, Rules Committee
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Kathy Castor, Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Committee
Derek Kilmer, Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress
Nydia Velázquez, Small Business Committee
Peter DeFazio, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Mark Takano, Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Richard Neal, Ways and Means Committee


~

  4 comments for “Fighting Back: “Quit holding the paychecks of 800,000 government workers hostage!”

  1. JanF
    January 12, 2019 at 6:58 am

    On Friday, the House passed the bill guaranteeing back pay to the furloughed federal workers, the bill that had been passed unanimously by the Senate. It was sent to the White House.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about the bill as she signed it as part of the enrollment ceremony:

    I’m very honored to be here to sign this legislation which is about fairness to our federal workers, our public employees. It should not be necessary. We shouldn’t have a shutdown but since we do, we want to ensure that our public employees, some of them are working without pay, some of them are shut out from working, but all of them will be assured that they’ll be paid not just for this shutdown but for all shutdowns, to remove all doubt.

    We hope there will be incentives to some in the financial services sectors and some in the credit union sector, who have provided interest-free loans so that people can pay their bills in real time, even if they don’t get paid in real time.

    I hope that the promise of back-pay will help people get cash to tide them over.

  2. JanF
    January 12, 2019 at 3:55 pm

  3. January 13, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Thanks, Jan. Sigh. There no one, but no one, more vile than Thing and his minions.

    How can these people be so effing hard-hearted toward their fellow citizens?

    I wish their “God” would smite them.

    • JanF
      January 14, 2019 at 5:05 am

      The “Godly” Republicans have turned their backs on the least among us; the hungry, the sick, and the homeless have to take their places behind zygotes and tax cuts for the wealthy preachers. They probably don’t realize, or don’t care, that the things they do in the name of their “God” diminishes the power religion has over people – “He” is just another craven asshole to be ignored by the new generation of young people who see through the scam. The smiting is happening in the best way possible: by their own hand.

Comments are closed.