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Hawaii’s congressional delegation reacts to shutdown, fight over border wall

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    Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, spoke to reporters Friday at the Capitol on her way to her office as the Senate took up a House-passed bill that would have paid for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown. Congress adjourned without reaching a deal, which led to a shutdown at midnight in Washington.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / April 5

    Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, left, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (standing), Sen. Mazie Hirono and Sen. Brian Schatz hold a hearing on the Jan. 13 false missile alert in Honolulu.

Here’s how Hawaii’s Democratic Congressional delegation is reacting to the partial federal government shutdown that began tonight because of the fight over $5 billion in funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall:

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono: “Two nights ago, the Senate did its job by passing a bill to keep the government open with the expectation that the House would pass it and that the President would sign it into law. But at the 11th hour, Donald Trump succumbed to pressure from his far right-wing base and chose to shut down the government for a $5 billion down payment on his vanity wall.

“This shutdown is totally unfair, completely unnecessary, and entirely the President’s fault. Donald Trump needs to face the reality that he won’t get $5 billion for his wall and accept responsibility for keeping the government running.”

Sen. Brian Schatz: “Our federal workers shouldn’t suffer because the President and Republicans in Congress don’t know how to govern. These workers keep our country running, and it’s irresponsible and cruel to threaten their pay just before the holidays. I hope we can quickly get this through the House and to the President so that the men and women who serve our country get the pay they have earned.” Schatz said the Senate unanimously passed the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act, which he co-sponsored and is designed to make sure federal employees who are required to work during a government shutdown get paid as soon as possible. Schatz said an estimated 420,000 federal workers, including Coast Guard and TSA employees, are being forced to work without pay and that an additional 380,000 will be furloughed.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa: “It is unfortunate that in the midst of the holiday season President Trump is forcing more than 420,000 federal workers to continue on the job without pay. Hopefully, after quick reflection, the President and his enablers re-think this approach to funding the government. He chooses the Christmas season to pander to his base and shutdown the government because Congress refuses to pay nearly $6 billion for a wall along the southern border that is nothing more than a political talking point for his next campaign. Ironically, by shutting down the government, he is ensuring that nearly 107,000 Customs and Border Protection agents and Transportation Security Administration workers will be forced to defend our borders with the added stress of an immediate loss in pay. The ‘law and order’ President just assured that 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers, including 13,709 FBI agents, 4,399 DEA agents, and 16,742 Bureau of Prisons correctional officers will lose money before Christmas.

“In Hawaii, where we are dependent on our visitor industry to drive our economy, our National Parks will be forced to shutter operations during one of their busiest seasons. Our farmers, already reeling from historic wet weather in the islands, won’t have access to county service offices or federal aid. Small business loans won’t be issued. Thankfully, our DOD workforce in the islands was previously funded through the current fiscal year. What is most upsetting is that Congress did its job. For the first time in about a decade, through the regular order, we finished significant portions of the appropriations process in bipartisan fashion. We reached an agreement on the final package of spending bills only to have Trump shut it down after Freedom Caucus members pushed him. A lot of this is part of Trump’s efforts to change the narrative after Secretary Mattis’ stunning resignation. The only adult in the room stepping down would have been more negative if Trump didn’t engage in his art of deflection. Americans deserve much better from the office of the President.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: “This completely preventable #shutdown has left 800,000 Federal workers furloughed or forced to work with no pay. Yet leaders in Washington who failed the American people still get paid. This is BS. I stand with our workers & won’t accept pay as long as the govt is shut down.”

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