Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement as President Trump’s government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history, enters its second month:
“Government shutdowns should never be used as a negotiating tool. Their effects are too harmful, as we’re seeing with the 800,000 federal employees and contractors who are about to miss another paycheck. That’s why I plan to vote yes on Thursday on the House Democratic plan to reopen the government. It’s a good first step toward finally solving this impasse.
“I’m hearing from more and more Californians about the hardships they’re facing. Vital services are being denied and critical work is left undone as thousands of families worry about how they’ll make ends meet.
“Federal employees, their families and their communities shouldn’t be used as pawns. We can’t continue to ask federal workers to be furloughed or work without pay every time the president doesn’t get his way. This cannot become an acceptable precedent.
“If the president wants to negotiate an immigration deal, we can have that debate, but not while he holds federal workers hostage. Reopening the government while we continue to debate border security and immigration reforms—like the Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform we expect to hold soon—is a reasonable approach to ending the pain this shutdown is causing.”
Government shutdowns effects:
- FBI and national security: A report released today by the FBI Agents Association, which advocates for 14,000 agents, laid out many of the problems the FBI is facing because of the shutdown. “The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” according to one agent who works on counter-intelligence issues. “It’s bad enough to work without pay, but we can only conduct administrative functions while doing it. The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.
- Food assistance in jeopardy: Food assistance for low-income families could run out in a few weeks, including assistance for the 4.1 million Californians that receive CalFresh benefits. Child nutrition programs, including school meals and after-school programs, only have enough funds to continue operations through March.
- Coast Guard serving without pay: Coast Guard personnel are serving without pay, the only military branch not receiving paychecks during the shutdown. California is home to 5,836 active duty, reserve or civilian Coast Guard employees.
- Tax refund delays: President Trump has recalled without pay 36,000 IRS employees to reduce negative coverage of tax refund delays, a potential violation of the Antideficiency Act.
- Homeland Security employees feeling the strain: Morale is low as Customs and Border Protection officers; Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers; and Transportation Security Administration agents continue to work without pay. TSA has noticed a spike in agents calling in sick during the shutdown, nearly triple compared to this time last year.
- E-verify operations suspended: The online system employers use to verify eligibility status of employees is not operating during the shutdown.
- Wildfire prevention efforts stalled: As California continues to recover from the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in state history, the Forest Service, which manages 60 percent of California’s forests, has suspended most wildfire prevention efforts.