WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez delivered remarks on the Senate Floor today demanding President Trump and the Senate Republican Majority reopen the government and stop inflicting hardship on victims like Emily Nerring of Basking Ridge, N.J., who is among more than 5,000 federal workers across New Jersey who have either been furloughed or forced to work without pay due to President Trump’s shutdown. Emily has worked at EPA’s Edison field office for eight years, coordinating water quality research and assisting in emergency efforts to deliver clean drinking water to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria.
Remarks as delivered by Sen. Menendez:
Today, I rise to give voice to the more than 5,000 federal workers across New Jersey who aren’t getting paid due to President Trump’s pointless government shutdown.
Make no mistake: this shutdown is the result of a presidential temper tantrum.
Democrats have voted for border security funding; for new technology to scan vehicles for drugs; or more port of entry infrastructure and personnel; for new drones to detect unauthorized crossings. Yet President Trump is holding 800,000 federal workers hostage all because he wants $5.7 billion for a border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.
We’ve long known that something is broken inside this President that makes him incapable of caring about anyone other than himself.
Clearly, he does not see federal workers as real people with real bills to pay – people like Emily Nering of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Emily has worked at the EPA’s Edison Field Office for eight years. She coordinates water quality research and is in the midst of a major survey of the New Jersey / New York harbor, and she assisted in emergency efforts to deliver clean drinking water to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria.
“I took an oath of office too,” Emily writes. “I want to get back to doing the important work that the EPA conducts and to continue to serve this great nation...I saved up to contribute to an IRA this year and to start saving for down payment on a home, but those funds will now be used to help me pay rent and other bills, pushing my financial and life goals further out of reach… I urge the President and Congress to put us back to work so we can continue to serve the American people!"
In recent days I’ve heard from Coast Guard members, TSA agents, IRS workers -- patriots who’ve built their careers out of serving their fellow Americans. Their work is important and they deserve to be paid.
If President Trump wants to discuss issues like border security and comprehensive immigration reform, then he should end the shutdown of agencies that have nothing to do with the border, release his hostages and reopen the government.
But if he continues to bury his head in the sand, then it’s time for the Senate to act. We could likely pass legislation to reopen the government with a veto-proof majority – if only the Majority Leader would hold a vote.
Let’s do the right thing for federal employees like Emily. Let’s end this shutdown now.