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Hawaii’s congressional delegation reacts to deal on government shutdown


    Sen. Mazie Hirono, left, and Sen. Brian Schatz. Hirono and Schatz both issued statements following news of the agreement that Congress reached with President Donald Trump to reopen the government for three weeks.

U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Ed Case and Tulsi Gabbard all issued statements following news of the agreement that Congress reached with President Donald Trump to reopen the government for three weeks. They referred to the longest shutdown in U.S. history as the “Trump shutdown.”

“Today’s announcement is a welcome, albeit temporary, end to this unnecessary, unconscionable Trump shutdown,” said Hirono in her statement. “Over the past 35 days, Donald Trump took hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors, and indeed the entire country, hostage — all because of his obsession with building his vanity wall. It was telling that even in announcing an end to the shutdown, Donald Trump resorted to lies and distortions to justify his vanity wall in anticipation of negotiations over the next three weeks.

“While the debate continues on border security, we need to pass a bill to fully fund all government operations through the end of the fiscal year. Come February 15th, there cannot be another government shutdown. Donald Trump has proven time and again that his word is no good and he changes his mind on a whim. It’s up to Congress to step up to its responsibility as a separate branch of government, do its job, and keep the government open.”

Hirono railed against Trump during the partial shutdown, and told MSNBC on Thursday that: “You can’t talk sense to someone who makes no sense. Donald Trump changes his mind as soon as Fox News tells him to.”

Schatz, too, took to Twitter to rail against the partial government shutdown, at one point calling it a “catastrophe that’s about to get worse and smack the whole nation in the face.”

“I want to express my sympathy and my solidarity with all of the workers in Hawaii who had to go through this experience,” said Schatz in a statement issued today. “A huge thank you must also go to Hawai‘i’s banks, credit unions, utilities, and non-profits that stepped up to help federal workers in our state. Shutdowns don’t work, and I’m hopeful that everyone has learned this lesson for the last time.”

In a televised speech following the news of the deal, Schatz also said the shutdown should also “precipitate a little shame” and “introspection about how we got here.” On Twitter this morning, he wrote: “I’m angry on behalf of all regular Americans.”

“Because to fix this now, when airports are snarled, is to say that we were okay with people not getting food stamps,” he said, “we were okay with Native American health clinics running out of medicine, federal workers working without two paychecks, Coast Guard’s men and women underway deployed without paychecks, so long as the President can build his wall. But if flights are delayed, if the elites are imperiled or inconvenienced in any way at all, game over. And shame on us if that’s what it takes to shut down this shutdown.”

Added Case: “Like all Americans, I am relieved that this inexcusable stalemate has been suspended for three weeks,” said Case. “This decision comes shortly after I joined several of my colleagues in urging the House and Senate leadership to negotiate and vote on border security — if government first reopened. I only regret that this common-sense solution took so long with so much unnecessary disruption.”

“This continuing resolution, once it is enacted and signed into law, will give me and my colleagues breathing room to engage each other and the Administration on the issue of border security without federal workers, and millions of others, being held hostage to any specific outcome.”

Congresswoman Gabbard added this evening: “This deal to reopen the government for 21 days will provide backpay for federal employees, and allow them to go back to work while Democrats and Republicans work together to address funding levels and authorities for border security and immigration concerns. We cannot allow our government and federal employees to suffer and be held hostage because of partisan politics or policy disagreements.”

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