Fighting Back: “Democrats will never allow Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Ted Lieu of California. He discussed the escalating safety and economic threat caused by the Republican Party’s senseless government shutdown.

Rep. Lieu:

“It’s pretty simple how we got here. In fact, it’s all captured on videotape. Last month, Trump told the American people, quote, ‘I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.’ End quote.

“No President of the United States should ever be proud of shutting down our government. But Trump carried out his threat to shut down government. And he was enabled by Republicans in the House and the Senate.

“This shutdown started during a time of unified Republican control of the federal government: the White House, the Senate, and the House. Democrats inherited this shutdown from Republicans.”[…]

“Now, how do we stop Trump and the Republicans from continuing to inflict harm on the American people? The Democratic position has been straightforward, consistent, and reasonable: Re-open government. Negotiate a deal.

Democrats will never allow Trump and the Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Because if we do, then Trump will do this any time he has a policy disagreement with Congress. […]

“The truth is, the shutdown is not about protecting our border, it’s about Trump’s failed campaign promise. He promised Mexico will pay for his wall. He has been unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall, so he decided to take the mantle and proudly shut down our government. That is wrong, and the American people know it.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Ted Lieu Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Ted Lieu and I represent western Los Angeles County in the United States Congress. I previously served on active duty in our military because I believe America is an exceptional country, the most amazing nation in the world.

“But right now, the federal government under Donald Trump is partially shut down. No civilized nation on earth shuts down its own government.

“I’m going explain how we got here, how the shutdown affects you, and how we re-open government.

“It’s pretty simple how we got here. In fact, it’s all captured on videotape. Last month, Trump told the American people, quote, ‘I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.’ End quote.

“No President of the United States should ever be proud of shutting down our government. But Trump carried out his threat to shut down government. And he was enabled by Republicans in the House and the Senate.

“This shutdown started during a time of unified Republican control of the federal government: the White House, the Senate, and the House. Democrats inherited this shutdown from Republicans.

“And the effects of the Trump Shutdown are severe, harmful, and dangerous. There are some government jobs where we want full staffing and do not want the employee to be tired, stressed out and desperate because one mistake can be fatal.

“Air Traffic Controllers, who help keep the flying public safe, are not getting paid and are under increasing pressure to work multiple jobs. Or, they’ve simply to quit to get another job in order to make ends meet.

“The National Air Traffic Controllers Association issued a dire warning, saying that they cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which their entire system will break.

“As a result of the Trump Shutdown, there have been fewer food inspections, fewer inspections of planes, and the inability of the Consumer Products Commission to respond to unsafe product warnings.

“The shutdown has particularly impacted the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with keeping Americans safe.

“Our Border Patrols agents, TSA personnel, and Coast Guard members are all working without pay. Some have had to use food banks to feed their family; some are working multiple jobs to make ends meet; and some will need to quit because they cannot sustain working without a paycheck.

“The financial crunch doesn’t just impact federal workers. It impacts the landlords that can’t collect rent from furloughed renters; the small business owners who can’t get their permits from federal agencies; and the individuals who can’t get in touch with the IRS to work out payment plans.

“The shutdown is also hurting our economy. Nearly 400 trade associations and chambers of commerce have said the shutdown is causing significant damage to families, businesses and the economy. Recently, the White House’s top economic advisor admitted that the US economy may show zero economic growth this quarter.

“Now, how do we stop Trump and the Republicans from continuing to inflict harm on the American people? The Democratic position has been straightforward, consistent, and reasonable: Re-open government. Negotiate a deal.

“Democrats will never allow Trump and the Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Because if we do, then Trump will do this any time he has a policy disagreement with Congress.

“The position taken by Trump is, in fact, quite perverse. He is saying that his concession is to re-open government. No American President should ever be taking the federal government hostage to extract demands.

“Democrats are working hard to re-open government.

“The House of Representatives has voted 11 times to re-open our government.

“The Republican-controlled Senate unfortunately has refused to pass any House legislation to re-open government. By failing to pass those measures, Senate Republicans are abdicating their duty as part of a co-equal branch of government.

“I am also disappointed that Trump and Republicans continue to lie about basic facts. The truth is, there is no crisis at the border that justifies a government shutdown.

“According to the latest data from the FBI, violent crime is down. Property crime is also down.

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, border crossings are at an approximate 20-year low.

“Study after study also shows that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, commit less crime than native-born Americans.

“The truth is, the shutdown is not about protecting our border, it’s about Trump’s failed campaign promise. He promised Mexico will pay for his wall. He has been unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall, so he decided to take the mantle and proudly shut down our government. That is wrong, and the American people know it.

“Poll after poll shows that overwhelming majorities of the American people do not support funding for a wall in the middle of a government shutdown. They support re-opening government.

“Mr. President, listen to the American people. Re-open our government.”

Editor’s Note: He did!

Any bolding has been added.

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

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Is it still morning? Yes. It’s been a long morning, started last night. Good morning. Thank you all for being here.

As you know, last night the President accepted the fact that the State of the Union address should be at a time when we can talk about the state of the Union when government is not shut down.

I’m glad we could get that off the table, because I know it was a source of many questions. Should we rent the equipment for the State of the Union? Should we have our families come in?

It is so unimportant in the lives of the American people, in terms of especially those who are victims of the shutdown, hostages to the President’s applause line in a campaign speech.

Thank goodness we put that matter to rest and that we can get on to the subject at hand: open up government so that we can negotiate how best to protect our borders.

Democrats have always been strong about honoring our oath of office to protect and defend the American people: protecting our borders, securing our borders, is an important part of that.

Today, the Senate has an opportunity to pass legislation that is very simple. It’s about billions of dollars in disaster assistance and also just keeping government open until February 8, so that we can have a discussion while people are being paid. Tomorrow marks the second paycheck that our federal workers will miss. We’ve asked the Republicans to take ‘yes’ for an answer over and over again.

In the legislation that we passed this week, we have a little more than half a billion dollars for the ports of entry. We have been told by authorities that 90 percent of the drugs come through the port of entry. We also know that those seeking [asylum] are encouraged to come through the ports of entry and most of them do. And that is a place where we can secure our borders for the purpose of, again, security, but also immigration, trade, travel, tourism and the rest.

So in that legislation we have over half a billion dollars to build the infrastructure to secure, to enhance and perhaps even increase the number of ports of entry. That is not in the Homeland Security bill, because it falls under the Treasury Department-independent agencies bill that we passed on the Floor this week.

We have over half a billion dollars for additional immigration judges. This is to address the backlog of processing immigration cases and those seeking asylum, those seeking asylum.

And asylum is a humanitarian effort for all of us. The Evangelicals have testified in our rump hearings, before we had the Majority to have a real hearing, they’ve testified that the U.S. refugee resettlement program, how we deal with asylum seekers, is ‘the crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’ And, again, that is being undermined. And these ports of entry, increasing them will be helpful, but asylum seekers can cross wherever they can. That is under international law.

Okay, third, then assistance to Central American countries.

These three things really actually were in the President’s proposal the other day. So this is not different. We have been advocating this for a while. The President adopted some of these things in his statement the other day, and yet the Republicans refuse to support a homeland security bill that includes that.

And when I say a homeland security bill, it isn’t the actual Homeland Security, it’s a bill to open government. It’s for the six other bills to open government, which contain some port of entry language.

Today, the Senate will vote on a bipartisan bill to open government. It contains the same funding proposal they’ve already supported, and yet now they won’t. So there’s no excuse for Senate Republicans not to pass this legislation. We’ve asked them over and over again to take ‘yes’ for an answer.

So we are very firm in our support on how we secure our borders. Let’s have that discussion after we open up government. And then let us get to work.

You’ve heard the letters from the former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security saying: this is harmful, open up government.

You’ve heard from the FBI Agents Association that, because of the shutdown, they have no funds to pay confidential sources or to pay for investigation and prosecution of cases, including child exploitation, cyber warfare, or MS-13, terrorism-related cases.

You’ve heard from the air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants warn that ‘We have a growing concern for safety and security… We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play nor predict the point at which the entire system will break.’

I heard the president of the association, of the flight attendants, air traffic controllers, last night say that in one place 40 percent of the people – there’s only 52 percent of the workforce there of 100 percent that they should have, and of that 52 percent, 40 percent are eligible for retirement. This is not something about re-upping when you see how casually this Administration treats the important work that air traffic controllers do for us.

And then the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Karl Schultz, said, ‘I find it unacceptable that the Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day to day life as service-members.’ That’s the Commandant of the Coast Guard. He’s saying that he finds it unacceptable. That should be a call to action for this Administration to open up government.

Instead, what do they have? They have Wilbur Ross saying he doesn’t understand why, when he was asked about people going to food lines and pantries and the rest, he says he doesn’t understand why they have to do that.

I don’t know, is this the ‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude, or call your father for money? Or this is character-building for you, ‘It’s all going to end up very well, just so long as you don’t get your paychecks?’ ‘I don’t quite understand why,’ as hundreds of thousands of men and women are about to miss a second paycheck tomorrow.

I met with the mayors yesterday, and in addition to speaking with them, I’ve heard from them about all of the stories and what it means in their communities in terms of the individual families, but also the impact on the economies of their communities.

We wanted to work together, get back to work, to lower the cost of health care for all Americans, to increase the paychecks by building infrastructure, which the President says he wants to do, and to move on with our H.R. 1, to bring dignity and reduce the role of big or special interest money in politics.

We are ready. We are working on these initiatives. We hope that we can open government so that we can fully concentrate in this way.

In that case, we urge the President once again – thank you for recognizing that it’s inappropriate to have a State of the Union address where people are working hard, very hard, to protect all of us in that room and not getting paid for it.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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Pelosi Remarks at Enrollment Ceremony for Legislation to Re-Open Government

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats held an enrollment ceremony for legislation to re-open government. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Good evening, everyone. It’s an honor to be here with my colleagues who made this legislation possible. […]

We’re grateful for the work of so many people who made this possible. I’m grateful for the unity of so many in our Caucus. We always say our diversity is our strength, all these beautiful ideas that come forward. Our unity is our power, and I am pleased to sign this legislation that we will send to the Senate to be signed, it will go to the President of the United States to sign to open up government.[…]

We have no complaint. We asked the President to open up government so we would have time to have debate on the best way to protect our border. Democrats are committed to border security and we think we have some better ideas about how to do so, that protects our borders, honor our values and are cost-effective.

We look forward to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard taking the lead in terms of the substance from her standpoint as Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee and commend, again, our Chair of the Appropriations Committee for her leadership on this. They bring knowledge, they bring perspective, they bring the enthusiasm of the consensus of our Caucus to that conference. Thank you all.

Full remarks at the link.

Here are the people who will be negotiating border security over the next few weeks: Pelosi Names Homeland Security Conferees

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi today named House Democratic Members to serve on a conference committee for homeland security.

“House Democrats look forward to working in a bipartisan, bicameral way to pass legislation to fund the government in a manner that honors our values, respects our workers and protects our borders,” said Speaker Pelosi. “We are pleased that these outstanding, deeply experienced Members will be at the head of the table during this critical process.”

The following Democratic Members will serve on the conference committee:

– Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York
– Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard of California
– Congressman David Price of North Carolina
– Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California
– Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas
– Congressman Pete Aguilar of California

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats will never allow Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic.”

  1. JanF
    January 26, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Here is the H.J.Res. 28 Bill signing ceremony from a Twitter moment.

  2. January 29, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Thanks, Jan. Rethugs ought to be ashamed of themselves. But then, they’re incapable of such emotions as sympathy for others and shame because of their own behavior. What an absolutely abysmal political party. Would that it would vanish from this country!

Comments are closed.