Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement on the continuing partial government shutdown:
The Trump shutdown is causing immense harm to federal workers, and to the American citizens who depend on government services. The longer this unnecessary and reckless shutdown continues, the more the suffering will grow. In California alone, more than 37,000 federal workers are not being paid. People have to eat. People have to pay rent and keep the lights on. The President’s decision to hold these employees’ pay hostage to his immigration policy is plain wrong.
Beyond public servants who are left struggling to make ends meet, vital services are threatened. SNAP benefits for more than 4.4 million Californians, sometimes the difference between families eating and going hungry, are in danger. Not to mention the more than 430,000 California families who receive federal housing benefits that may run out soon. Businesses can’t get permits approved, and the economic costs of the shutdown will only grow worse as time passes.
The list goes on and on. No matter what the Administration says, there is a very real possibility that the IRS will not be able to process returns if the shutdown continues. Our National Parks are in turmoil, and visitors are increasingly being put in danger by inadequate sanitation and lack of supervision.
The House Democrats have passed legislation to open all of the government for the rest of the year, and to give time for us to negotiate on any additional funds for the Department of Homeland Security, including border security. The Senate passed these measures unanimously just a month ago, but now Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is choosing to keep the government shut down and deny pay to hundreds of thousands of Americans, by not allowing the Senate to vote.
We need to open these other departments and agencies, get federal employees back to work providing services to fellow Americans, and then we can have a rational, deliberative discussion about how to improve border security. That simply can’t be done while large parts of the government, federal workers, and the American people, are being held hostage.