Fighting Back: “As Dr. King said, ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’ Republicans, end this shutdown.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Amy Klobuchar asking (in Minnesota Nice!) for the Republicans to come back to the bargaining table and stop holding the hard-working people of America hostage.

(As the longest federal government shutdown in American history continues, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address. In the address, Klobuchar describes the harm that the nearly month-long shutdown has been inflicting on Americans across the country, and calls on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to take up bipartisan House-passed legislation, which Senate Republicans previously have supported, that would reopen the government.)

“This weekend, we are on the verge of what soon will be a month-long government shutdown, and it’s the longest and most senseless shutdown in American history. That’s nearly a month of hundreds of thousands of workers not getting paid. That’s nearly a month of everything from air safety to medical advancement being undermined. Nearly a month of unnecessary anxiety and unwarranted chaos.

“This past week, the President declared he’ll “never back down” from his decision to shut down the government until he gets what he wants.

“We ask the President to come back to the table, and to stop holding the hard-working people of America hostage by requiring them to pay ransom to reopen their government. Especially after we already passed bills to reopen the government and to help secure our borders.[…]

“In this week of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we remember the words of Dr. King: ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’”

“Now is the time to do what is right Mr. President. End this shutdown and put hard-working Americans back to work.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Senator Klobuchar Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“I’m Amy Klobuchar, the Senator from the state of Minnesota.

“This weekend, we are on the verge of what soon will be a month-long government shutdown, and it’s the longest and most senseless shutdown in American history. That’s nearly a month of hundreds of thousands of workers not getting paid. That’s nearly a month of everything from air safety to medical advancement being undermined. Nearly a month of unnecessary anxiety and unwarranted chaos.

“This past week, the President declared he’ll “never back down” from his decision to shut down the government until he gets what he wants.

“We ask the President to come back to the table, and to stop holding the hard-working people of America hostage by requiring them to pay ransom to reopen their government. Especially after we already passed bills to reopen the government and to help secure our borders.

“We ask the President to end this shutdown.

“We ask him to listen to his own employees. Like Kathleen, from my home state, a newly hired employee at the Department of Agriculture who was so excited about her new job, but now she is no longer getting paid. She wrote a letter to me:

“‘My funds are exhausted,’ she says, ‘At this point in time, I don’t have the money to pay for my mortgage or for childcare for my daughter.’

“She goes on to ask the question no parent should have to ask: ‘Do I risk losing my home or do I risk having my daughter lose her daycare and then be unable to go to work when I’m recalled?’

“She finishes by saying, ‘This may be a story you have heard before, but I felt it needs to be shared until it is heard by the right ears.’

“Kathleen, today a whole lot of people are hearing your story.

“Thanks to our workers and businesses—we have reached a moment in our country where we should be governing from opportunity, and not chaos. We should be working together to pass major legislation to bring down prescription drug prices and health care costs for Americans, to make it easier to afford college and child care, to create incentives for clean green energy, to pass immigration reform, to train workers for the jobs we have today and could have tomorrow.

“But what is happening instead? The President’s own economic advisor has estimated that this shutdown will cost the American economy billions of dollars every week. That’s billions of dollars.

“With this shutdown the administration is not creating opportunity, it is fomenting chaos. Instead of lifting the economic burden of health care and family expenses off the shoulders of our citizens, the administration has chosen to place the costs of its chaos firmly on the backs of the hard-working people of America: forcing them into lines in airports, reducing help for our farmers and rural areas, closing the gates to our parks and the doors to our small businesses.

“As one furloughed FDA employee told a newspaper after visiting a food shelf for the first time just to feed herself and her five children: ‘President Trump’s talking about a crisis on the border, but we have a crisis right here.’

“I ask the President and my Republican colleagues to listen to those words, the words of an ordinary American, who like so many others, does extraordinary work for us every day. These are people working on the front lines without pay to keep us safe from terror, guard our coasts, investigate and prosecute those that do us harm, and keep our food safe and our life-saving cures moving forward.

“I ask my fellow citizens to make their views clear and to tell this President and my Republican colleagues to stop the self-inflicted manufactured crisis and enact one of the many bills Congress has passed on a bipartisan basis to end this shutdown. I ask Leader McConnell to take up the House-passed bills in the Senate and send them to the President’s desk.

“Why? Because in this week of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we remember the words of Dr. King: ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’”

“Now is the time to do what is right Mr. President. End this shutdown and put hard-working Americans back to work.”

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. Votes on the Floor. That’s the tyranny of the bell, as I call it. When the bells ring we have to be there, and when the Members are there that’s a very important time for us.

Sadly, this week was marked by the great tragedy of our losing our brave men and women in uniform killed in a terror attack in Syria. So very, very sad. This horrific attack is a stark reminder of the reality of the security threats that we still face around the world.

Later today we’ll hold a vote on the Administration’s termination of sanctions against companies controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. We will have very informed debate on the Floor on this. As I’ve mentioned before, we had a classified briefing on this last week, which was with stiff competition of the worst classified briefing I have seen from the Trump Administration. But very proud of the Democrats in the room who asked very specific questions to the Administration.

You’ll hear some of that debate on the Floor. It is very, very important. I’m proud that in the Senate the vote, while they did not achieve 60, was a strong majority, 57 to 42, to disagree, to disapprove of the actions taken by the Administration.

Once again, I’m always at temporal markers. So, that’s today. Next week, as you are aware, we have cancelled our District Work Period next week to stay here to work on legislation to open up government, to continue our ongoing drumbeat of bills to open up government, starting with the bills that the Republicans themselves passed in the Senate but now won’t take up. But we will go to the next step next week on that.

At the same time we will be working on our agenda, For the People: to lower health care costs, to increase paychecks by building the infrastructure of America, and by passing H.R. 1 in the very near future to bring dignity to government by lowering the role of big, dark special interest money in politics and in government.

Once again, we call upon the President to open up government, to re-open government. As I said, we cancelled our District Work Period.

This is directly related to our security. The Trump Shutdown is undermining that. We’re not paying people that keep us safe: the TSA agents who stop bombs from coming on to planes; the FBI agents who track down terrorists in our country; the DEA agents who stop the flow of drugs into our country; and the immigration officials who patrol the border.

This senseless shutdown is inflicting great pain on every part of our country. Every day the impact spreads, reaching the lives of hard-working Americans in every corner of the country.

I’m particularly concerned about the United Mine Workers of America. They spend a good deal of time in my office, because I do believe we owe them so much. Even though I’m not a big supporter of coal, I am a big supporter of the coal miners and their health and retirement benefits.

Yesterday, I heard from the United Mine Workers of America, who warned that reimbursements of health care providers are not being processed, which will lead to the service shortages that jeopardize the health care of 35,000 mine workers if this shutdown continues.

Back home in San Francisco, Members have stories, we have a story storm, because we’re being bombarded by them, and they are the most eloquent, articulate justification for opening up government. In my city of San Francisco, thousands of people are being denied their paychecks.

People think of public employees, federal employees, only being in the Washington area. No, they’re all over the country. They’re in small town USA and other places around the country, including the Bay Area.

People like EPA employee James Munson from San Francisco, who explained that he could have a garage sale and sell everything he owns and it won’t be enough for one month’s rent.

People like Bay Area and NASA employee Sherri Shore, who can’t pay her mortgage and was told by the lender: ‘Too bad, you’re just going to have to wait until your house goes into foreclosure.’

People like EEOC investigator Mali Kigasari of San Francisco, who said: ‘Trump’s wall is imaginary, but my bills are real.’

This is most unfortunate, and I don’t understand why the reality of this in people’s lives is not felt or concerned or cared about by the Administration. Not only are these workers not paid, they’re not appreciated by this Administration.

These are the people who deliver services to the American people. We should respect what they do for our country. Many of them are veterans who have translated their military patriotism into civilian patriotism working for the government and they are affected by this. These workers make a difference in the lives of the American people, including security officials who would be protecting the President at the State of the Union address.

As I have said to some of you, this is defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security as a National Special Security Event. It means it is elevated to a place where the resources of the government are used to protect that event. It is the President of the United States and the Vice President, the Congress of the United States, House and Senate, the Cabinet – acting as it is – but the Cabinet, Supreme Court of the United States, the diplomatic corps, and all that that implies in terms of security.

The continuation of government is the reason for all of the security, as well as the power that is in the room.

I have no doubt that our men and women in the federal workforce have the capability to protect. The inference that they want to say is: ‘Oh, you don’t think they could?’ Yes, they can. They’re professionals. They are trained for this. They should be paid for this.

And that’s why I said to the President: If you don’t open up government, if that doesn’t happen, let’s discuss a mutually agreeable date. January 29, the date of the State of the Union, is not a sacred date. It’s not constitutionally required. It’s not a President’s birthday. It’s not anything. It is a date that we agreed to. It could have been the week later, and it could be a week later if government is open.

So, it isn’t as if that date is sacred for any reason. It was one that was negotiated: What works for you? What works for our schedule on both sides of the aisle?

So, I just want to make it clear, there is no reason for this to happen. We have over and over again put forth an agenda for protecting our border. It is the oath we take, to protect and defend. Securing our borders is a very important part of that.

The President says there are all these drugs coming into the country. Ninety percent of the drugs coming over the border come through the ports of entry. And so, we have said again and again: let’s build the infrastructure of the ports of entry or maybe increase them. Let’s facilitate trade and travel and protecting our security with more lateral roads there. Let’s increase the personnel. There are nearly 3,000 – 3,000, imagine – 3,000 vacancies in Customs. Let’s increase the personnel.

Infrastructure, personnel, technology, technology, technology.

For several hundred million dollars there is the capability to scan the cars for drugs, guns, contraband. The technology is there. The will is there. I think there’s bipartisan agreement that we should be doing that and to use other technology to protect the border in other ways.

The President says the only way to do it is with a wall. That’s a debate that we have, but it was no debate that we all agree that protecting our border is the responsibility we have, and that has always, always been the case.

Again, we must respect our workers, protect our borders and re-open government immediately.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

More legislation from the People’s House, #ForThePeople …

Pelosi Remarks at Introduction of the Raise the Wage Act

Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor Bobby Scott and other congressional leaders to unveil the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and give roughly 40 million Americans a raise.

Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon, everyone. For The People, that was our theme in the election and here we are gathered in the Rayburn Room for the people.

Democrats from both sides of the Capitol coming together to recognize and correct the situation – the financial security concerns of America’s working families. […]

When we won the House in 2006, in 2007 we came together in the first 100 hours. The first Six for ‘06 priorities for us was to raise the minimum wage. It hadn’t been raised in like 11 years and we did it right there in the first 100 hours of the new Congress.

As soon as it was signed by President Bush, when we went out to celebrate our victory on the lawn of the Capitol and the rest – Senator Kennedy was with us and he was a champion on this issue. And when we all finished our remarks he said, ‘You know what we have to do now? ’ We said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Raise the minimum wage.’

More at the link.

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “As Dr. King said, ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’ Republicans, end this shutdown.”

  1. JanF
    January 19, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Nancy Pelosi makes a joke! At the presser following the cancellation of the military aircraft for the congressional delegation’s Afghanistan trip:

    Q: Do you view this as retaliation for your letter?

    Speaker Pelosi. I would hope not. I don’t think the President would be that petty, do you?

    The delegation included “the leadership of the Intelligence Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, and we’re very proud of the freshman on the trip – 20 years of experience in the military.” The visit was cancelled after it was determined that it was no longer safe to go to Afghanistan after the White House had exposed the mission.

  2. JanF
    January 19, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Freshmen Democrats trying to do what’s best for the country:

    For many freshmen, starting their service amid the shutdown has been a sharp reminder of the limitations of the power that comes with elected office. Like a lot of these new lawmakers, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., ran on a promise to overcome rancor and get Washington working. The shutdown is not making that easy. “A lot of us are very much can-do people, we’re very concrete people, we’re very practical people,” Slotkin said. “All I want to do is solve it.” […]

    So far, the freshmen are sticking together by focusing on Pelosi’s demand that Trump agree to reopen the government before starting any real negotiations on the wall or border security. That request allows Democrats to remain unified by focusing on the broad goal without ever having to face very real policy differences they have over border security. […]

    Katie Hill, one of the co-chairs of the freshman class, said the representatives have remained unified behind Pelosi so far because her demand has been consistent that she will negotiate on the details once the government is reopened.

    “We are very much aligned with the strategy of we have to hold strong,” Hill said.

    The plan to split the Democratic caucus is not working so far. I hope they realize that holding firm is in their own long-term interests.

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