REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF THE I-75 COLLISION NEAR GAINESVILLE, FL; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 3
(Senate - January 08, 2019)

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[Pages S49-S61]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF THE I-75 COLLISION NEAR GAINESVILLE, FL

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I want to take a few minutes to join my 
colleague, Senator Cassidy, to talk about the unspeakable tragedy that 
happened last Thursday near Gainesville, FL, when a large tractor-
trailer crashed into a car, crossed into oncoming traffic, and struck a 
church van that was bound for Disney World.
  I wish I understood why bad things happen to good people. There were 
five kids--five youngsters--from Marksville, LA, who lost their lives 
in that terrible collision. They were Joel Cloud and Jeremiah Warren, 
both 14 years old; Cara Descant, aged 13; Brieanna Descant, aged 10; 
and Cierra Bordelon, aged 9. These five youngsters were members of the 
United Pentecostal Church in Marksville, LA. They were five beautiful 
lives, full of potential, who were gone before their time. It is 
heartbreaking, and there are, simply, no words.
  I will say it again. I wish I understood why bad things happen to 
good people. I can't imagine any greater suffering than a parent's 
being asked to bury a child. The love of a child is not like the love 
for a parent or a spouse or a sibling. That is deep love. Yet, as my 
late father used to tell me, ``Son, you will never, ever understand 
love until you have a child.'' I can't think of any greater suffering 
than to ask a parent to bury his or her child.
  I want to tell each of these kids' families, the United Pentecostal 
Church in Marksville, the whole community in Marksville, and the 
Avoyelles Parish that the entire State of Louisiana grieves with you 
and that you are in our prayers.
  The Marksville van was carrying some very precious cargo. In total, 
there were 12 passengers: 3 women--one of whom is pregnant--and 9 
children. There were survivors--thank you, Lord--but many of the 
survivors were gravely injured, and I pray that they all have a swift 
and full recovery.
  I want to express my sympathies to the families of the two drivers 
who died in that accident. I also thank the first responders who put 
themselves at risk every day to try to save lives during these 
catastrophes.
  There are no words to describe this tragic accident. It happened far 
too close to the holidays, but there is never a good time. I am going 
to say it again. If I make it to Heaven, the first question I am going 
to ask is, Why do bad things happen to good people? For now, I just 
pray that these families will find the strength they need to go on and 
that all the injured are healed quickly.
  Thank you.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Government Funding

  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I rise, together with a number of 
colleagues who will follow me tonight, to talk about the need to end 
the Trump shutdown and to reopen the government of the greatest Nation 
on Earth. I am glad to have so many colleagues here who each will share 
the stories that have been experienced by folks living in our States 
regarding a shutdown that has now gone on for 18 days and will soon 
become the longest shutdown in the history of the U.S. Government.
  The shutdown is unnecessary, the shutdown is embarrassing, and the 
shutdown is painful. It is unnecessary. Why punish American workers? 
Why punish American citizens? No patriotic leader in their right mind 
would want to do that.
  The thing that is so troubling about this shutdown is that the 
overwhelming majority of people who are affected are not connected to 
the dispute between Congress and the President over immigration reform 
and border security. Why should that dispute lead to farmers not being 
able to reach their extension agents? Why should that dispute lead to 
small businesses not getting their small business loan applications 
processed? Why should a dispute about immigration block the courts of 
DC from issuing marriage licenses to people?
  The President praying for, urging, and then being proud of a shutdown 
is hurting all kinds of people who are completely unconnected with the 
issue in dispute between Congress and the President. In that sense, it 
is unnecessary.
  Second, it is unnecessary because there are bills on the floor right 
now that would solve this--bills that are bipartisan, bills that were 
supported by the Presiding Officer and other Republican colleagues in 
the Chamber just a few weeks ago. If we took action right now, we could 
stop the punishment. We could end the pain--the gratuitous pain--that 
is affecting American families and workers.
  The shutdown is unnecessary. The shutdown is embarrassing. This is 
the United States of America. This is the greatest Nation on Earth. The 
fact that we are in an 18-day shutdown of critical components of our 
government, where people are not getting paychecks and citizens are not 
being served, is beneath what we should aspire to as Americans and 
certainly as U.S. Senators.
  Finally, before I yield to my colleague from New Hampshire, the 
shutdown is painful. There are statistics about the numbers affected 
during the shutdown. Others may get into the statistics; I just want to 
share stories because Virginians are reaching out to Senator Warner and 
me and sharing their stories with us.
  Allen is a veteran and a Federal civil servant in Yorktown, VA. He 
has been working without pay since the shutdown began. He wrote to our 
office saying that his emergency savings are exhausted, he is behind on 
his bills, and the situation will not get any better as long as his 
Agency is unfunded. I will repeat that. Allen is a veteran who 
voluntarily served the military, this country, and this is how this 
President is treating him.
  Joanna is from Woodbridge, VA. She wrote to me saying that she 
doesn't know what she will do if she doesn't get paid by the end of the 
month, as her family ``can't afford to miss a single paycheck.'' She 
writes that ``even a slight decrease'' in her pay means her family 
cannot afford their rent.
  A family from Culpeper wrote to me wondering how they will feed their 
children and pay their mortgage without being paid for their service to 
our government. They say that if this shutdown goes on for a month or 
more, they will have to worry about losing their home.
  Michael and Chris, two Federal employees in Annandale, have three 
kids, two in college. They are going to have to miss their kids' 
tuition payments that are due for the semester this month. If the 
shutdown continues, they are not sure whether they will be able to make 
their mortgage payment.
  James is a furloughed Federal employee from Fredericksburg. He says 
he is the ``sole breadwinner'' for his family. He tells me a shutdown 
that goes into months would spell financial ruin for his family and 
others.
  A Virginian from Haymarket wrote me and told me that her loved one is 
a Federal employee who is working without pay. She had to postpone a 
necessary medical procedure because their family could no longer cover 
the costs of copays for testing and surgery.
  Teresa is a Federal employee from Springfield. She is worried about 
paying her mortgage, utilities, food and more, but most of all, she is 
worried about the health of her son, Tommy. Tommy has a disability. She 
writes: Because of his medical fragility, Tommy must have numerous 
prescription medications; therefore, there are copays to pay. Missing a 
single dose could land him in the ICU. President Trump needs to stop 
holding Federal employees hostage. When I start missing paychecks, 
Tommy is possibly jeopardized in his own life.

[[Page S50]]

  Finally, John--a NASA contractor from Virginia--and his wife, who 
also works for the same Agency, have lost 100 percent of their 
household income since President Trump's shutdown started. Get this: 
Their daughter, who lives at home, is a schoolteacher, and it is their 
schoolteacher daughter who is helping pay for the parents' expenses 
during this shutdown.
  The shutdown is unnecessary. The shutdown is embarrassing. The 
shutdown is painful. We need to end the Trump shutdown and reopen the 
government.
  With that, I yield the floor to my colleague from New Hampshire.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleague 
Senator Kaine and so many others who are here on the floor today to 
talk about the hardship that has been created for so many Americans by 
this government shutdown--a government shutdown that is wasteful, 
unnecessary, and totally about politics.
  Today is the 17th day since this partisan brinkmanship shut down 9 
out of 15 Departments and dozens of government Agencies that we depend 
on to protect our health and safety.
  We could reopen the government's doors today if Senate Republicans 
take up the bills that were passed by the House--bills that were 
written and overwhelmingly approved by the Republican-controlled Senate 
just a few weeks ago.
  If there is bipartisan and bicameral agreement on the appropriations 
bills, then why has the government shut down? Sadly, it is because the 
President wants to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for an 
ineffective and costly wall on the southern border--a wall which the 
President promised Mexico would pay for and which is opposed by the 
majority of Americans.
  Meanwhile, the men and women who work in Agencies that protect the 
American people and who protect our borders are either not working or 
on the job but not getting paid. In total, more than 380,000 Federal 
employees have been furloughed, and more than 450,000 are working 
without pay.
  This shutdown affects the entire country, including New Hampshire. It 
is not just the thousands of Federal workers who are affected by the 
shutdown; it is also harming millions of Americans who depend on 
essential services provided by the affected Agencies, people like those 
Senator Kaine described.
  Last Friday, I had a chance to meet with farmers in New Hampshire who 
are affected by the ongoing closure of the Department of Agriculture's 
Farm Service Agency. They are not receiving the essential services and 
loans they need to prepare for spring planting.
  Many dairy farmers, who have been under extreme hardship anyway 
because of the tariffs with China and falling dairy prices, talked 
about the impact on them. Last year, New Hampshire dairy farmers lost 
$1 million because of the tariffs, and our farmers tell me they are in 
danger of losing several million more this coming year. So they can't 
afford to have another hit.
  The fact that this new dairy safety net program, which was passed in 
the farm bill--and congratulations to Senator Stabenow, the ranking 
member of the Agriculture Committee. She and Senator Roberts did a 
great job providing help for the first time for so many dairy farmers. 
Even though they are hurting because of the tariffs, those farmers 
can't benefit from that right now because the program's implementation 
has been delayed. They don't know how long they will be able to hold on 
before they are able to get help.
  Furloughs have also slowed work at the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy and the programs it oversees that are integral to New 
Hampshire's effort to fight the deadly opioid epidemic. Everybody who 
is getting ready to speak has seen the effects in their States because 
of the delays in these programs. Last year, New Hampshire had the 
second highest rate of deaths due to opioid-related drug overdoses. 
Continued delays from the Agency will pull the rug out from under our 
first responders, who rely on ONDCP resources and critical Federal 
opioid response efforts. Just as we are beginning to see some progress 
in fighting the opioid epidemic because of the work of Congress, we are 
seeing steps taken that move us backward.
  Of course, there are the air traffic controllers. Last Friday, I 
visited with New Hampshire's air traffic controllers to discuss how the 
shutdown is affecting their operations and safety at our airports. I 
have received 38 handwritten letters from New Hampshire air traffic 
controllers who are opposed to the shutdown.
  (Mr. DAINES assumed the Chair.)
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that these letters be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       Dear Senator Shaheen, My name is Dara and I have been an 
     air traffic controller with the FAA for close to 19 years. I 
     am writing this letter to express my concern about our 
     current government shutdown.
       On Christmas Eve, my dear mother passed away. Ever since I 
     was a child I have been taking care of her since she was 
     permanently disabled from Multiple Sclerosis. The day before 
     Thanksgiving she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and was 
     given 3-6 months to live. When she passed I was devastated! I 
     had to call people on Christmas Day to tell them the news. 
     That was so hard. I had to contact the funeral parlor down in 
     NJ (that's where we're from) to coordinate a burial. I had to 
     take 3 days off to make it work. But I still worked during 
     this difficult time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and 
     the 26th. I also ended up having to pay thousands of dollars 
     for her funeral.
       Honestly, this government shutdown has been the last thing 
     on my mind. But now the realization of not being able to pay 
     my mortgage, credit cards from Christmastime, and now this 
     funeral is too much to bear.
       Air traffic control is a very stressful profession, but I 
     am proud to be able to do it and work with such a group of 
     professionals who come to work and are dedicated to safety in 
     the National Airspace System. My colleagues and I deserve 
     better.
       Please end the government shutdown immediately!
     Dora (Bedford, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, As an Air Traffic Controller and 
     constituent, I want you to know how the partial government 
     shutdown is affecting me. For the last two weeks, air traffic 
     controllers have remained on the job, dedicated to the safety 
     of every flight. But we don't know when we will receive our 
     next paycheck. My colleagues and I have suffered the sudden 
     loss of our income due to the government shutdown. My husband 
     is a firefighter/EMT in Londonderry. We both have very 
     important and stressful jobs and take our responsibility for 
     public safety very seriously. We have a home, a mortgage and 
     are trying to start a family and the stress of not knowing 
     when I will receive my paycheck is a heavy burden to bear. 
     Many of my colleagues had to cancel vacation time over the 
     holidays and miss out on time with their family out of 
     concern that they would not be reimbursed for time off that 
     they worked hard to earn
       It is not too much to ask to get paid for the time we are 
     required to show up and work our hardest five days a week.
       Many air traffic facilities are already critically staffed 
     with many having scheduled 6 day work weeks. In our building, 
     we currently have 6 employees whose training is at a 
     standstill because their trainers are non-essential 
     contractors.
       Senator Shaheen, I truly appreciate your time and beg you 
     to do all you can to end this shutdown immediately.
           Sincerely,
     Sarah (Deerfield, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, As an Air Traffic Controller, I want 
     to you to know how the government shutdown is affecting my 
     family and I. My husband and I are both Air Traffic 
     Controllers and are extremely proud of what we do. However, 
     not knowing when we will get paid puts a log of stress on us 
     in addition to an already stressful environment that we work 
     in. I myself am in training at A90 and this shutdown has the 
     possibility of delaying my final rating, which means a pay 
     raise. Bills do not stop and we are both out of a paycheck. 
     This puts a huge burden on my family and I. Please end the 
     government shutdown.
           Sincerely,
     Michelle (Pelham, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, Thank you so much for all the hard 
     work you are doing on my behalf to end this harmful 
     government shutdown.
       It was a pleasure to meet with you yesterday and discuss my 
     concerns with the shutdown. As an Air Traffic Controller and 
     President of Boston TRACON NATCA, located in Merrimack, NH, I 
     was able to discuss with you firsthand how the shutdown is 
     harmful to my coworkers and the FAA as a whole.
       Please keep up the fight to end the shutdown.
           Sincerely,
     Curt (Merrimack, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, I am writing to you today to share 
     with you the effect the government shutdown has had on my 
     family. I'm married to someone who is older and retired, so 
     his income is considerably less than

[[Page S51]]

     mine. We have two small children and own a home in Merrimack, 
     NH. We not only have a mortgage to pay, but other bills for 
     heat and utilities and my car. This shutdown has been 
     extremely stressful, more than the others I have worked 
     through. The current administration has been so unpredictable 
     as well as volatile, it's an actual thought that this could 
     drag out for months and that non-essential friends and family 
     that are currently furloughed will not receive pay. This 
     shutdown is unfair to the dedicated and professional 
     government employees, not just myself and the other air 
     traffic controllers.
       I am asking you to please end the shutdown. Please re-open 
     the government and allow us to work knowing we will earn our 
     paychecks again.
           Sincerely,
     Lisa (Merrimack, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, I am writing you today to share the 
     impact the government shutdown is having on me and more 
     importantly my family. First, I would like to tell you a 
     little about my wife and I. We were high school sweethearts 
     and have been married almost 15 years. While Kelly is not 
     perfect, she is perfect for me. Kelly struggles with and is 
     receiving treatment for anxiety and depression. Due to 
     childhood trauma, she struggles with uncertainty. In previous 
     shutdowns the not knowing causes stress and strife. Even the 
     anticipation of a possible shutdown raises her anxiety so I 
     have started to keep them to myself and not tell her until 
     the last possible moment to save her the anguish. It has been 
     over two weeks with no end in sight and this wreaking havoc 
     on our relationship.
       Next I would like to tell you about my two daughters. My 
     oldest Kaley is 13, a bright honor roll student athlete. 
     Kaley has been having gastrointestinal issues for a few years 
     and just had her second endoscopy last month. Even with FEHB 
     coverage the procedures are not free. We have a follow up 
     with her G.I. tomorrow. I find myself hoping she won't need 
     major medical treatments as money is starting to get tight.
       Next would be my other daughter Savanna. She is 10 and like 
     her mom suffers from anxiety. Like her mother, I have also 
     tried to shield her from this so she won't worry because no 
     10-year-old should have to. Unfortunately, the time where I 
     can protect her from this is drawing to a close as this week 
     I will have to inform her dance studio that I won't be able 
     to afford February's tuition. I know dance classes can seem 
     frivolous in the grand scheme of things, but they are her 
     outlet, her freedom, and her happiness. I hope and pray for 
     accommodation and understanding from a N.H. small business 
     owner to allow her to continue without payment. Another 
     Savanna story for you, she has sensory issues and through 
     therapy is finally learning how to voice them. About a week 
     before Christmas while tucking her into bed, I jokingly asked 
     her why she had 9, yes 9 blankets on her bed. Her response 
     was a big break through for us. ``Dad, I like the weight of 
     it. It helps me calm down.'' That Saturday we were finishing 
     up our Christmas shopping for mom and I took her into Yogibo 
     at the Pheasantland mall. They have weighted blankets and I 
     let her try it out. ``Oooh dad, this is nice.'' Well, those 
     N.H.-made blankets are $80. Normally, a purchase would have 
     been made that day. Unfortunately, that was the eve of the 
     shutdown, and Savanna is still waiting patiently for dad's 
     next check.
       Lastly, how has this affected me? I put myself last as I 
     normally do with the girls. It pains me to watch them go 
     through this. Furthermore, I was faced with a thought that 
     would never have come up normally. Thursday night my 64-year-
     old mother was rushed to the emergency room in Brockton, MA, 
     about an hour away from Nashua. For a brief fleeting moment I 
     actually thought about fuel for my truck. I had fuel and have 
     resources for more for now, but I need to keep driving to 
     work without pay. I did go down to check up on her and she 
     came home last night thankfully. I do despise the fact 
     however that the thought of not going even crossed my mind. 
     Starting next week I have to start looking for a second job 
     to offset some of the losses. I will have 16 years of 
     government service at 3 different air traffic facilities in 
     March.
       I humbly request your assistance in ending the government 
     shutdown and returning some normality to our house hold.
           Sincerely,
     James (Nashua, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, First and foremost, I want to thank 
     you for taking the time to read my letter. During times of a 
     government shutdown, federal employees (either furloughed or 
     working without pay) feel like no one is actively listening 
     to their stories. With that in mind, thank you for hearing 
     what I have to say.
       I am a single mother of three, and I thank God every day 
     for the job that I have. My career as an air traffic 
     controller has enabled me to take care of my children and 
     afford to give them opportunities that many families cannot 
     afford. I have two girls attending out of state colleges. One 
     is at Purdue University studying Airport management, the 
     other at University of South Carolina studying Political 
     Science. My son, 14, is in middle school and actively engaged 
     in sports.
       Some days, when I feel the stress of bills pilling on, I 
     feel guilty because I have a great job, make a really good 
     salary, and have great benefits. However in the end, no 
     matter how much any of us make, we all have bills and 
     responsibilities. I work for the sole purpose of earning a 
     wage to support my family. This government shutdown has left 
     me worried. I called one of my creditors and they were not 
     sympathetic at all. I'm worried about using credit cards and 
     being charged a high interest rate and yet, life still 
     happens. Food needs to be put on the table, cars need to run, 
     and my daughter's rent at college still needs to be paid. 
     Unfortunately, everything goes on except my paycheck.
       Holding federal employees paychecks ``hostage'' should 
     never be an option in the midst of Congressional funding 
     arguments. The ironic thing about it is that I am ``paying 
     the price'' and I am not even receiving a paycheck! I 
     understand that everyone has an opinion on border security. I 
     would hope that 100% of Congress (and the President) agree 
     that employees of the federal government should not be a pawn 
     in this matter.
       I hope that you and your fellow members of Congress can 
     come to an agreement to let federal employees go back to 
     work, get paid, and feel safe knowing that their family needs 
     are being met.
           Sincerely,
     Sherri (Hollis, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, As an air traffic controller and a 
     constituent, I want you to know how the partial government 
     shutdown is affecting me and my colleagues.
       The lack of paid leave means missing time with the family. 
     It means coming to work at a stressful job when you might not 
     feel at your best. It means not being able to plan time off 
     to get my car fixed or get that new furniture delivered 
     during the week.
       The world of air traffic is constantly evolving. New and 
     revised rules and procedures are a constant. The lack of 
     support personnel means that eventually those changes could 
     be missed and safety compromised.
       The lack of training in classrooms and simulators means an 
     already short-staffed controller workforce will continue to 
     shrink and controllers will not be able to progress in their 
     careers. Eventually the lack of pay may convince eligible 
     controllers to retire or make others decide to seek other 
     employment. The number of fully certified air traffic 
     controllers is now at a 30-year low.
       Please end the shutdown immediately.
           Sincerely,
     Todd (Manchester, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, As an Air Traffic Controller and 
     constituent, I want you to know how the partial government 
     shutdown is affecting me.
       In the past year my in-laws have moved in with my family. 
     My father-in-law lost his job and him and his wife were no 
     longer able to afford living on their own. The extra 
     financial burden with the combination of the government 
     shutdown is going to make it hard for me to meet my financial 
     obligations.
       Please end the shutdown immediately!
     Shane (Bedford, NH).
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Shaheen, I appreciate your efforts for our 
     state and country. At this time I feel it is vital that you 
     understand the impact that Washington politics is having on 
     my family and friends. The inability for our elected 
     officials to find common ground and demonstrate leadership is 
     disheartening to say the least. It is time for our elected 
     officials to put politics aside and put people as their 
     priority. Our federal workforce has good men and women with a 
     strong desire to place the needs of this country first, yet 
     our elected officials are preventing this. Please end this 
     shutdown now and allow us to do our jobs.
     Gerald (Brookline, NH).
                                  ____

       Hon. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, I would like to first thank 
     you for reaching out and meeting with our NATCA legislative 
     leadership team yesterday. They do so much work, on their own 
     time, to help support all the air traffic controllers 
     throughout New England. As a constituent directly impacted by 
     this government shutdown, I would like you to stress to all 
     colleagues, Democrat or Republican, that this has and will 
     continue to put an undo stress upon me and my family. As an 
     air traffic controller, with one of the most stressful jobs 
     in the world, the last thing that I need is to worry about 
     when I'm going to receive my next check for work. I've been 
     performing at a professional and safe level that is expected
       In the weeks leading up to the shutdown, and knowing that 
     it was almost certain it would happen, my federal coworkers 
     and I raised over $12,000 in donations in the Southern New 
     Hampshire area. This included 200 gifts and gift cards, 
     totaling over $18,000 to the Nashua Children's Home and 
     $4,020 donated to Family Promise of Greater Nashua at Anne 
     Marie House. We will continue to contribute to our 
     communities but please bring an end to this shutdown 
     immediately.
       Thank you for your time,
     Everett (Bedford, NH).
                                  ____

       The Hon. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, As an air traffic 
     controller and constituent, I want you to know how the 
     partial government shutdown is affecting me. For the last two 
     weeks, air traffic controllers have remained on the job, 
     dedicated to the safety of every flight. But, we don't know 
     when we will receive our next paycheck. My colleagues and I 
     have suffered the sudden loss of our income due to the 
     government shutdown. It's going to be hard for me to meet all 
     of my financial obligations.
       Please end the shutdown immediately!
     Andre (Derry, NH).
                                  ____

       The Hon. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, I am currently working at 
     Boston TRACON for

[[Page S52]]

     the FAA. For the past thirty years I have been providing air 
     traffic services for the United States. For the first nine 
     and half years I was serving the country in the Air Force 
     during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
       I am a one income family that relies on my federal 
     paycheck. I have two children, one that is planning on going 
     to college in the upcoming year. That being said, I should be 
     financially planning to pay for her college, not my mortgage! 
     While the Congress is celebrating, high fiving each other, 
     I'm wondering, How will I meet my financial obligations. 
     Please help end this nonsense soon.
           Sincerely,
                                        Douglass (New Boston, NH).

  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Air traffic controllers keep our airways safe, but, as 
we all know, they are being asked to work long shifts without being 
sure they are going to get paid for that work. One air traffic 
controller I heard from was recently transferred to the Boston area, 
which is covered in New Hampshire. She is the sole provider to her 
mother. Now she is paying not only her mortgage but her mother's 
mortgage.
  In a letter she addressed to my office, she wrote:

       As a sole source of income to my household, the foreseeable 
     future of this shutdown is detrimental. . . . [It has 
     created] a substantial burden on not just me but the 
     thousands of federal employees it's impacting.

  Sadly, the shutdown also stands to affect the safety of air travel--
not because our air traffic controllers aren't on the job. They are on 
the job. They are doing the work even though they are not getting paid. 
But the fact is, men and women who provide administrative and 
maintenance functions on the runway--those people who fix equipment 
when it stops working, who are in the control tower and at airport 
facilities--they will not be at work to support our air traffic 
controllers. So when a runway or taxiway light goes dark, it is going 
to go unrepaired. That jeopardizes the safety and the efficiency of 
aviation operations.
  Then there are the impacts to those Agencies that are funded by the 
Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill. I understand this 
particularly well as the ranking member on the CJS Subcommittee of 
Appropriations. I know what a devastating effect this shutdown is 
having on these Agencies.
  More than 41,000 law enforcement agents of the Department of 
Justice--including agents within the FBI, the Drug Enforcement 
Administration, and the Bureau of Prisons--are working for IOUs. We are 
hearing this directly in New Hampshire, where every staff member at the 
Federal Correctional Institution in Berlin, NH, which is in northern 
New Hampshire, is excepted. That means they are required to report for 
work, and they are not being paid.
  I would like to read an excerpt from a letter I received from Chris 
Allen. Chris is the president of the union at FCI Berlin, which 
represents 180 staff members. He highlighted the kinds of choices staff 
members are being forced to make. He said:

       While some staff members can call and potentially have a 
     mortgage or a car payment excused if they are missing only 
     one source of income, even buying simple groceries or paying 
     for childcare becomes difficult for a family when all sources 
     of income have been stopped and you are required to continue 
     working.

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have Chris's letter printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         American Federation of Government Employees Council of 
           Prison Locals, Local #2008,
                                                       Berlin, NH.
       Dear Senator Shaheen: My name is Chris Allen and I am the 
     President of AFGE Local 2008. 1 represent 180 staff members 
     at the Federal Correctional Institution in Berlin, NH. Today 
     I write to you with great concern for these federal 
     employees. As you are aware, these staff members are 
     currently being affected by the current lapse in funding for 
     the Justice Department. Every staff member employed at FCI 
     Berlin is considered ``excepted'' and are required to report 
     for work without being paid at this time. Next week, on 
     January 17, 2019, which would have been our next scheduled 
     pay day, we will be missing our first full pay check.
       We are fortunate to have some banks willing to lend a 
     helping hand to employees during this difficult time. 
     However, it hasn't been a save all either. Staff members are 
     running into issues with banks asking for documentation that 
     they are truly furloughed and guaranteed to be paid when the 
     shutdown ends. With no firm date that the shutdown could be 
     resolved and no legislation in place to guarantee they will 
     be paid in the end, banks are giving staff a harder time 
     while they are applying for loans at a 0% interest rate. The 
     other fear is that the shutdown continues past one or two pay 
     periods. Many of the banks are only offering short term loans 
     equal to only one or two pay checks. If the shutdown 
     continues, banks are undecided on whether future low or no 
     interest loans will be continued for our staff.
       We also have a number of families working at FCI Berlin 
     that have two incomes coming from the Justice Department. 
     While some staff members may have a significant other being 
     paid from outside the government, many of our families are 
     now missing two sources of income. While some staff members 
     can call and potentially have a mortgage or car payment 
     excused if they are missing only one source of income, even 
     buying simple groceries or paying for childcare becomes 
     difficult for a family when all sources of income have been 
     stopped and you are required to continuing working.
       I ask you and your colleagues in Washington to please keep 
     the excepted staff of FCI Berlin in mind during this time of 
     shutdown so they can be paid for the professional work they 
     do day in and day out to keep our communities safe.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Chris Allen,
                                       President, AFGE Local 2008.

  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, because of the shutdown, the Department 
of Commerce is not processing U.S. companies' requests to be excluded 
from the President's steel and aluminum tariffs. That delay will cost 
companies millions of dollars and will increase economic uncertainty. 
The shutdown is also preventing the Department of Commerce from 
assessing new anti-dumping and countervailing duties cases that help 
ensure our companies are competing on a level playing field.
  Finally, this shutdown, like all shutdowns, is going to put a lasting 
burden on the economy. The 16-day shutdown in 2013 cost the government 
$2.5 billion in pay and benefits, and it lowered fourth-quarter gross 
domestic product for the country by about $3 billion in lost output.
  The 2018 Trump shutdown has furloughed about 380,000 employees, 
nearly half of the number furloughed in 2013. So it is fair to say that 
the shutdown has already cost the government at least $1 billion, and 
the number is growing every day. The toll this shutdown is taking on 
the American people was completely avoidable. That is what is so 
frustrating, and I know it is frustrating to everybody in this Chamber.
  Last week, the House passed legislation to reopen the government that 
is virtually identical to legislation that passed the Senate or was 
reported by the Appropriations Committee with strong bipartisan 
margins. In fact, here, as we remember, that continuing resolution to 
allow us to keep negotiating passed by a voice vote.
  I urge Senator McConnell to bring these bills to the floor. Let 
President Trump decide to sign them or not sign them. He can make that 
choice as President, but we are a separate branch of government, and it 
is up to us to make the determination to end the shutdown immediately 
and to do what is right for the American people. We need to ensure that 
all government employees affected by the shutdown receive the pay they 
deserve. I know there is legislation, led by Senators Cardin and 
Collins, to do that. I urge Congress to take up and pass this critical 
legislation as soon as possible.
  One of the most fundamental constitutional duties of Congress is the 
appropriations process--to supply annual funds for Federal programs 
that support national defense, transportation, small businesses, food 
assistance for low-income families, research and development, and so 
much more. Right now, by refusing to allow legislation to reopen the 
government, this Senate--this Congress--is failing, and millions of 
Americans are suffering as a result.
  I urge President Trump, Senator McConnell, and congressional 
Republicans to reopen the government and allow Americans to get back to 
work.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise today out of deep frustration with 
the Trump administration's treatment of Federal workers due to the 
government shutdown.
  It has been 17 days since more than 380,000 Federal workers were 
furloughed and more than 450,000 began working without pay.
  Once upon a time, we were told that Mexico would pay for the 
President's border wall. Now the President is demanding taxpayers cough 
up more than $5 billion, and he is holding our Federal workers hostage 
until he gets it.

[[Page S53]]

  At first the President tried to paint Federal workers and contractors 
as political actors. Now he imagines that Federal workers are actually 
cheering him on.
  But rather than imagining what Federal workers are going through, I 
encourage the President and my Republican colleagues to listen to the 
firsthand accounts of how this shutdown is affecting the real families 
caught up in it.
  Here are some of the messages I have received from Virginians whose 
families are experiencing significant financial hardship because of 
this President's shutdown.
  Rebecca in Chesapeake writes: ``. . . I just want my husband to be 
able to go back to the work he loves and to have stability for my 
family returned . . . The stress of not knowing how long this will last 
is eating at both my husband and me.''
  Rosemarie in Falls Church shared this: ``My husband was diagnosed 
last week with advanced lung cancer and now on top of that stress, I 
have to worry about not getting a paycheck . . .''
  The President, who has never worked for a paycheck in his life, says 
he can relate. He says he is sure Federal workers ``will make 
adjustments.'' Here is what those ``adjustments'' actually look like.
  Lisa in Arlington writes: ``I am forced to look for multiple part-
time jobs to make ends meet and my savings will soon run out. Creditors 
and landlords have only so much patience with us.''
  How disheartening it must be to dedicate your life to serving others, 
only to find your own livelihood in jeopardy through no fault of your 
own.
  That is why I am doing everything I can to make sure Federal 
employees receive back pay for any time spent furloughed or working 
without pay.
  That means low-wage Federal contractors, too. The other day, I 
received a letter from a Federal contractor from Ashburn, who says the 
shutdown has ``rocked the financial stability of my family.''
  These folks who serve the Federal Government as custodians, cafeteria 
workers, security guards, and in many other important roles should not 
suffer because of this President's actions.
  We also need to reverse the President's unilateral Federal pay 
freeze--a slap in the face to hardworking Federal employees--announced 
just a few days before Christmas.
  The truth is, Federal workers are sick and tired of being treated 
like bargaining chips by this administration.
  Here is what Chad, furloughed NASA engineer from Suffolk, told me: 
``I'm disappointed to once again find myself barred from doing the job 
that I love. I find it offensive to be used as a political pawn and 
find the recent executive order to freeze civil servant pay at 2018 
levels, while on furlough no less, to be shockingly disrespectful and 
wrong.''
  Federal workers aren't in this business to get rich; they are public 
servants who often forgo higher pay in the private sector to serve 
their country.
  Dishonoring this sacrifice with a shutdown, with a pay freeze, and 
with the President's utter indifference to our Federal workers is a 
national disgrace.
  It is having a devastating effect on morale and the Federal 
Government's ability to recruit and retain talent.
  Here is how Joanna, a DHS employee from Woodbridge, put it: ``I love 
my job, but being a pawn for those who have no compassion for me or 
those I work beside is going to drive me and many, many others out of 
public service.''
  At a time when the share of Federal employees eligible for retirement 
is expected to jump to 30 percent in 5 years, the last thing we should 
be doing is actively undermining the competitiveness of the Federal 
workforce.
  In conclusion, I thank my friend, Senator Kaine, for bringing us 
together this evening and for his partnership in fighting for 
Virginia's Federal workers and contractors.
  Thank you as well to my constituents Rebecca, Rosemarie, Lisa, Chad, 
Joanna, and others for allowing me to share their stories.
  I want to reassure them and every Virginian that I remain committed 
to ending this unnecessary shutdown and making sure every worker 
impacted by it is made whole.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from New Hampshire, as 
well as the Senator from Virginia and my other colleagues who are 
gathered here.
  My trek each week to this desk starts in Illinois. It means that for 
a number of years, I have gone through the airports of the Midwest--
primarily in Illinois and Missouri--more than most. In fact, I probably 
know O'Hare Airport and every corner of it better than anyone who 
doesn't work there on a regular basis, and I know the people who work 
there, too, at all different levels.
  Starting in 2001, we brought in TSA as a means of making certain that 
we would be safe boarding airplanes, that people would not bring guns 
or weapons or bombs onto planes. These men and women, of course, get on 
our nerves once in a while as we have to open a valise or piece of 
baggage and take off our shoes, and perhaps we forgot there was a water 
bottle onboard. It is a little frustrating, and I know I have had that 
feeling, but I often think to myself: They are doing their job, and 
thank goodness they are. If it weren't for the men and women of TSA 
carefully screening passengers every single day, we would not be as 
safe, nor would our families be as safe, on these airplanes.
  At 10 this morning, I went out to O'Hare. Instead of heading to the 
gate to catch a plane, I had a press conference and brought four of 
these TSA agents in to explain what has happened to them and what will 
happen this coming weekend because, you see, this is showdown weekend 
for these employees. President Trump's shutdown of the Federal 
Government will mean that for the first time this coming weekend, these 
employees of the Transportation Security Agency are not going to 
receive a paycheck. They show up for work every day. They have to. They 
are known as essential personnel, which means our government has 
decided we can't really function as a nation without them. Yet our 
government has decided--at least in the White House--that as important 
as they may be, as essential as they may be, starting this weekend they 
will work without pay.
  I had not met them personally before, but I asked each of them to 
explain, what is this going to mean to you and your family--not getting 
a paycheck.
  They really brought home to me what workers across America--not just 
Federal employees but workers across America--face every payday. They 
each said to me, with only one exception: Senator, we live paycheck to 
paycheck. If we don't receive our paychecks, we have to make some basic 
decisions.
  One young woman, who had worked for 16 years for TSA, said to me: I 
live 39 miles away from O'Hare, roundtrip 78 miles every single day, 
and I make it because I need this job, and I need gasoline for my car 
to get here. It costs me a lot of money each and every day and every 
week. I don't know what I am going to do without the paycheck.
  Another one talked about the fact that they are dealing with expenses 
we all face--whether it is mortgage or rent--and what it will mean to 
them if they can't make their mortgage payment. Well, if you don't make 
your mortgage payment on time, and time passes, it affects your credit 
rating. It could affect the interest rate you pay on your mortgage or 
whether you even have a mortgage when it is all over. So, for these 
people, it is a critical element.
  One woman brought up something, which I am sure many working families 
know instantly. She said: Senator, if I can't get my paycheck, I can't 
pay the daycare center that takes care of my kids while I come to work 
here every day. That is the reality of life for working families.
  So why in the world has President Donald Trump decided that in order 
to make his case to the American people, he is going to penalize these 
workers, many of whom are essential to America's security and safety? 
Why did he do this?
  I would have to say, with all due respect to President Donald Trump: 
Pick on somebody your own size. Stop picking on people living paycheck 
to paycheck who are trying to serve this Nation in important ways.

[[Page S54]]

  What we hear from the President: I just have to do it because I have 
to have my wall.
  We remember the wall. You couldn't miss it in his campaign. He talked 
about it incessantly, the sea to shining sea concrete wall that was 
going to protect America and be paid for by the Mexicans. Remember 
that? Well, here we are. We have given the President money over the 
last 2 years in his Presidency to construct fences and barriers where 
they are needed--not his almighty wall, 2,000 miles long--but we have 
asked him to justify each year how he is going to spend this money, 
taxpayers' dollars, and whether it really is worthwhile.
  The President has decided he is impatient. He can't wait any longer. 
He has to have huge sums of money, maybe even $5 billion, dramatically 
increasing spending on barriers at the border, and he has to have it 
now, and the only way to make his point is to shut down the government.
  I was at a meeting last week when the President said: Make no 
mistake, I am not talking about shutting down this government for a few 
days. I am prepared--and he repeated it afterward in front of the 
cameras. Donald Trump said: I am prepared to shut down this government 
for months, even years.
  Now, this President is making history. No President in the history of 
this country has ever shut down his own government. We have elected men 
to lead and manage this government, and we understand that their 
responsibility is to keep the lights on and make sure taxpayer dollars 
are well spent, but this President doesn't understand that to be his 
responsibility, and a lot of innocent people are suffering.
  Yesterday, I was at the Department of Agriculture research lab in 
Peoria, IL. It turns out it is the largest one, with 200 researchers 
there. You think to yourself, they are doing important research when it 
comes to agriculture. It turns out this lab has some amazing history 
behind it.
  It was during World War II at this lab where they discovered 
penicillin. It was at the Peoria ag lab where they came up with 
penicillin that we could use for our troops who were being wounded in 
World War II, saving countless lives in the process. They are pretty 
proud of that legacy, and they should be.
  Do you know what they are working on now? The Peoria ag lab is 
working on something called tunicamycin. I had never heard of it, and I 
am a liberal arts lawyer so I don't understand a lot about it, but here 
is what it gets down to: This element, which occurs naturally in 
nature, can boost the healing power of antibiotics that have been 
spent--they no longer have an effect on people--but if tunicamycin is 
added, they can once again be effective and save lives. Peoria may have 
done it again: first penicillin, now tunicamycin. Well, the lights have 
been turned off at the Department of Agriculture research laboratory in 
Peoria. They have been turned off because of President Trump's 
shutdown.
  I met with one of the research team. She has worked there for 15 
years, she has a degree in chemistry, and she is doing her best to do 
her job, but she is not going to get paid this weekend. I asked her 
what she was going to do as a result of it. She said: I hoped I might 
be able to apply for unemployment compensation, but, Senator, the 
records I need to produce for unemployment compensation are in that 
laboratory building, and I can't get in there. They have shut me out.
  She can't even apply for unemployment compensation so her family can 
get by until the shutdown is over. Why did we do this to her? Why does 
this President want to impose this kind of shutdown and hardship on 
people who are doing worthy work--at taxpayers' expense, for sure, but 
for the taxpayers of America? Whether it is TSA agents or it is people 
at the ag lab, these are good people who are dedicated to this 
government and have given their life and their life's work to this 
government. They deserve better treatment than this.
  Let me close by saying a word about the border. The President says it 
is all about walls. Well, it turns out there are things he hasn't 
shared with the American people, and he is not likely to do it when he 
makes his presentation this evening.
  Take a look here at the apprehensions at the border. These are the 
apprehensions being made by Federal agencies and people trying to cross 
the border illegally. Notice something? You may have noticed, in the 
year 2000, there were 1.6 million apprehensions. Then take a look at 
the year 2018. The apprehensions are down to slightly under 400,000. So 
from 1.6 million to slightly under 400,000.
  We are going to be told we are facing a security crisis at the 
border, and it turns out that we have fewer people seeking to cross the 
border illegally now than we have in 45 years, and the apprehensions of 
those people have gone down dramatically from 1.6 million to slightly 
under 400,000, and we have already dramatically increased the number of 
people in Border Patrol.
  Meanwhile, let me add something that the President doesn't talk about 
because it doesn't fit into his wall scenario. We are facing the worst 
drug epidemic in the history of the United States of America. It is 
opioids, heroin, and fentanyl, and fentanyl has now been identified by 
the CDC as the deadliest narcotic on the streets of America.
  Where is the fentanyl coming from? I can tell you where a large part 
of it is coming from, from China through Mexico. Oh, they must be 
putting it in backpacks and jumping over the border. No, 80 percent of 
the fentanyl seized by CBP in 2018 was coming through ports of entry, 
places where vehicles and railroad cars go through now. So 80 percent 
of this deadly fentanyl seized by CBP was coming through ports of 
entry. What are we doing to stop it? Let me tell you, we are not doing 
enough. Ninety-eight percent of the railroad cars that come into the 
United States are scanned, a basic x ray, to find out what is inside 
that car. Is it something that wasn't disclosed? When it comes to cars 
and trucks coming into this country, 18 percent are being scanned, 
fewer than one out of five of the cars and trucks coming into this 
country. Ever wonder how the fentanyl is coming into this country and 
killing people in every town across the State of Illinois and across 
America? It is coming in through ports of entry.
  If the President would stop preaching about his almighty wall and 
take a look at real border security, he would be doing what is 
necessary to stop this fentanyl and these drugs coming into this 
country--and we are not doing enough.
  I am for border security. Make it smart. I am not worried about a 
President keeping a campaign promise that didn't make sense from the 
start. I am worried about keeping this border safe for our families 
across the entire Nation. Tonight, let's make sure the people who work 
that border and work at TSA and work for the Federal Government get 
back to work this week. That is priority No. 1.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I am very proud to join with my 
colleagues tonight. I thank the Senator from Virginia, the Senator from 
New Hampshire, and other colleagues who are here to speak out and talk 
about common sense and what is happening and what we believe should be 
happening for the American people.
  In Michigan, we are building a new bridge, and Canada is paying for 
it. That is the truth. Canada is paying for a bridge in Michigan. Here 
in Washington, President Trump is demanding walls that he is expecting 
American taxpayers to pay for--walls that the majority of experts and 
the majority of people do not believe will be effective in keeping us 
safe. Meanwhile, in Michigan hundreds of Customs and Border Patrol 
officers, who keep us safe every day, are working without pay, and that 
is wrong.
  The President says we need more security. I support strong border 
security, as my colleagues do--strong, effective border security. I 
also support economic security for hard-working Michigan families.
  Some Federal employees in Michigan, as other colleagues have spoken 
about, are wondering how they are going to support their families, pay 
their mortgages, and keep the heat on without the paychecks they are 
supposed to receive on Friday.

[[Page S55]]

  President Trump is talking about a humanitarian crisis. Here is a 
humanitarian crisis: 38 million people who depend on food assistance--
the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program--to keep food on their 
tables now have to worry that it might suddenly be gone. Most of those 
Americans are senior citizens, people with disabilities, and children. 
This shutdown fight should not be about politics, but it is. It should 
be about people. What is happening here is about people, and the 
American people are losing.
  One issue we should be able to agree on is the border. We all support 
border security. I can't say that enough, and my colleagues say that as 
well. I certainly know the importance of border security, as a Member 
from a border State--in fact, the State with the most active crossings 
at the northern border. The professionals on our northern border keep 
us safe every day, and they know what they need to do their jobs. They 
will say: It is more resources, more staff, more people. Above all, 
they need more technology. What they don't need is a 1st-century 
solution to a 21st-century problem. Building a wall on our border is a 
little like providing the U.S. Army swords and shields and expecting 
them to defend our Nation today.
  Unfortunately, this administration is more focused on the merits of 
concrete versus steel than actually protecting the American people in a 
real and effective way. If our border is a national emergency right 
now, then, why hasn't the President spent the hundreds of millions of 
dollars that we have already given him in the last year's budget. We 
have already allocated dollars for border security--the majority of 
which has not been spent.
  We all agree that border security is a high priority, and we should 
also be able to agree that workers--people working--deserve to be paid, 
and they should be able to take care of their families.
  I have heard from Michigan workers who can't pay their bills and are 
desperately seeking temporary jobs--families who have been left without 
health insurance, businesses that contract with the Federal Government, 
that know that even if Federal workers get paid back at the end of 
this, they will not. There are also thousands of small businesses that 
depend on spending by Federal employees to remain open--the dry 
cleaner, the neighborhood store, the local restaurant.
  This shutdown is also hurting American agriculture. My colleagues 
have talked about the fact that at the end of last year, just a few 
weeks ago, we passed a strong bipartisan farm bill to help farmers 
struggling with low prices, with growing trade concerns, and 
unpredictable weather, to say the least.
  During these difficult times, our farmers desperately need the 
predictability and confidence of a 5-year farm bill. That is what 
Senator Roberts and I spoke about every day on the floor of the Senate: 
We need to put in place a
5-year farm bill with predictability for farmers in rural communities 
and families. However, the President has undermined the certainty that 
the farm bill provided by continuing this shutdown at the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture.
  Every day the USDA is shut down is another day the improvements we 
made in the 2018 farm bill are delayed. Local farm service offices all 
across Michigan are closed. Farmers can't apply for the loans they 
need, as they look to next year. We have dairy farmers in very 
desperate situations. We dramatically increased support for them in the 
farm bill--a new dairy program--and they need it now. They needed it 
yesterday. They needed it last week.
  Important crop reports have been halted that farmers need to make 
decisions about upcoming planting seasons: What is the market? What are 
the prices? And there are all kinds of technical information they need 
to plan to move forward. Frankly, the USDA World Development Office is 
the economic development arm for every small town in every rural 
community in Michigan. Our rural homeowners cannot receive the housing 
loans they need to finance their homes and pay their mortgages. There 
are so many other ways things have stopped.
  We can't forget about our families on food assistance. Thirty-eight 
million people are able to put food on their table thanks to the 
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. While we should 
certainly do everything we can to ensure that food assistance is 
available in the near term--and I appreciate the Department working on 
that--our families deserve long-term certainty, especially considering 
that nearly 70 percent of those on SNAP are seniors, children, and 
people with disabilities. It is unconscionable to risk letting those 
most in need go hungry because of the politics of a government 
shutdown.
  Beyond SNAP, school meals, support for WIC--a very important program 
for women, infants, and children--and food for seniors are all at risk 
if this continues to go on. Due to the shutdown, local food banks are 
no longer receiving funds to distribute and to store food. There are 
very real consequences going on. We could go through every single 
Department to speak about what is happening to real people and what 
will happen if this does not get resolved.
  We can disagree about a lot of things. We should be able to agree, 
though, that people keeping us safe every day should be paid; that 
Federal workers should be able to pay their bills and take care of 
their families; that children, seniors, and people with disabilities 
shouldn't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from 
because of a government shutdown.
  It is time for the President to end this. It is very easy. The House 
and the Senate now have both passed the appropriations bills on a 
bipartisan vote. At the end of last year, we passed it in the Senate. 
It was just passed last week in the House. We can repass those bills. 
They should go to the President's desk, and this shutdown should end. 
He should sign the bipartisan appropriations bills and put the American 
people first.
  We can and will continue to debate what border security looks like 
and how we can be most effective, doing what we all want to see get 
done. It is time to stop the shutdown and for the President to sign the 
appropriations bills that are bipartisan and make sure the American 
people know he is on their side when it comes to what is happening in 
the country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, we are now in the third week of 
President Trump's government shutdown. This is yet another 
manufactured, unnecessary, and irresponsible crisis from this 
President. This one comes at a steep, steep cost for very real people. 
A government shutdown ripples throughout the entire economy. It shakes 
consumer confidence. It impacts hard-working families.
  In my home State of New Mexico, almost 6,000 Federal workers have 
been furloughed or are working without pay, many of whom were already 
living paycheck to paycheck before this President's shutdown.
  Carol from Tijeras wrote to me: ``I feel I am being held Hostage by 
my government which I have always felt it was an honor to work for.''
  Carol is worried about how she and her coworkers are going to pay 
their mortgages and their car payments if this shutdown continues.
  Kathy from Los Lunas wrote to me: ``I am a federal employee and I am 
dismayed that the president is holding us hostage. . . . He needs to 
quit toying with our lives and all of the public that we support and 
serve and end this shutdown.''
  It is hard to say it any better than that. The shutdown's impacts hit 
far more than our Federal employees. Hundreds of thousands of New 
Mexicans rely on the Federal agencies that President Trump refuses to 
reopen.
  During President Trump's shutdown, our public lands have had to lock 
their gates or leave parks and facilities unstaffed. The impacts of 
reduced visitation, the challenges for furloughed public land workers, 
and the costs of repairing the damage accrued during the shutdown will 
hurt communities across our State and many others.
  In this era of increasingly extreme and catastrophic wildfires, I am 
particularly worried about the impact that a prolonged shutdown will 
have on our national forests.
  Nicholas, a wildland firefighter fighter from Las Cruces wrote to me 
that he and his coworkers have been furloughed. He says: ``If this 
shutdown is

[[Page S56]]

not resolved, it will impact my ability to provide for my family.''
  Nicholas deserves to be able to support his family. Our communities 
can't afford to wait for Nicholas and his coworkers to do their 
essential work that keeps our forests healthy and prevents more 
destructive wildfires.
  Our State's farmers and rural communities are also facing increased 
uncertainty. That is because President Trump's shutdown has shuttered 
the Department of Agriculture, which funds agricultural loans and many 
economic development programs in rural communities.
  If the shutdown continues into next month, as President Trump seems 
entirely willing to allow, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 
Program--sometimes referred to as food stamps--will run out of funding. 
That would mean that millions of Americans--including more than half a 
million in New Mexico alone--would be left struggling to put food on 
the table.
  Over the weekend, KOB, one of our local television stations in 
Albuquerque, talked to New Mexicans who would be impacted by a lapse in 
food stamps funding. One man named Steven said:

       All of us who use food stamps rely on it. That's how we 
     eat, that's how we get our nutrition.

  He said that if he can't receive his support for food next month, he 
might have to take out a loan and go into debt.
  New Mexico is also home to many Tribal nations, which are 
disproportionately impacted by a lapse in Federal funding and are now 
under distress to meet very basic needs in their communities. That 
includes things like law enforcement, education, housing, and 
transportation.
  Let me tell you one example I heard from the Mescalero Apache Tribe 
in southern New Mexico. Mescalero's lands span more than 700 square 
miles. Because of President Trump's shutdown, the Tribe's federally 
funded police force has been furloughed. Just think about what that 
means for someone who needs help, someone who needs to report a crime, 
or someone who needs medical attention.
  I need to remind us that this shutdown comes right after Congress 
failed in December to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Now, 
without this law and without funding, Tribes are especially strained in 
addressing an epidemic of sexual violence that has been so acutely felt 
in their communities.
  Mescalero has seen every single one of its Bureau of Indian Affairs 
social workers and victims specialists furloughed. That is extremely 
dangerous for women and children who are victims of abuse. These are 
real people's lives being unnecessarily damaged by President Trump all 
because he will not stop holding our government hostage.
  Perhaps most telling about President Trump's shutdown is the impact 
it is having on our Federal workers responsible for keeping our Nation 
safe along our southern border. As a border State, New Mexico is more 
familiar than President Trump with responsible and smart border 
security policies. In fact, our State is the proud home of the Federal 
Law Enforcement Training Center, one of the primary training centers 
for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers. Because of President 
Trump's shutdown, the workers at FLETC and all of the officers working 
at our ports of entry and agents along our border are either furloughed 
or working without pay. How can it possibly be the best way to keep our 
Nation's border region safe and secure?
  The President has said he would be proud to shut down our government, 
and, well, I have to say there is nothing--nothing--to be proud of 
about any of this. The President can--the President must--put an end to 
this shutdown.
  Look, the way out of this is pretty straightforward. The votes are 
not there in either the House or the Senate to make Americans pay the 
bill for President Trump's wasteful border wall.
  Signing a bipartisan government funding bill to reopen the government 
is the only responsible way forward. The only thing he is doing by 
refusing to back down is hurting Americans like the families I 
represent in New Mexico, like the people who work along our southern 
border. They expect and deserve so much better than this 
irresponsible--this preventable--shutdown.
  President Trump has all the power to end this madness right now. I 
will say this one last time. Mr. President, if you are listening, 
listen to the American people. Listen to the people who work for you 
and me and this entire Nation whom you are you hurting. Do the right 
thing and end this now.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, I will.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, prior to Senator Markey, I wanted to ask 
Senator Heinrich this: If I heard correctly, you indicated that half a 
million New Mexicans are currently participating in the SNAP program.
  Mr. HEINRICH. That is correct.
  Mr. KAINE. What is the total population of New Mexico?
  Mr. HEINRICH. A little over 2 million people.
  Mr. KAINE. So nearly one-quarter of the State is participating in the 
Food Stamp Program that is jeopardized by this shutdown.
  To the Senator from New Mexico, are you aware that 95 percent of the 
employees of the Agency that administers SNAP have been sent home and 
furloughed? Are you aware of that?
  Mr. HEINRICH. I was aware of that.
  Mr. KAINE. That is causing problems not only for your half a million 
but for any new family who falls into hunger and needs to apply for 
SNAP every day.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Thank you.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I yield the floor to the Senator from 
Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Virginia and I 
thank the Senator from New Hampshire for their great leadership on this 
issue.
  Just talking about SNAP very briefly, 50 percent of all children in 
the United States, at some point in their lives, are going to be on 
SNAP, are going to need some help to eat so they can avoid hunger--50 
percent of all children. So we are playing games with the program that 
is central to the lives of millions of families across this country, 
and we are playing out this entire drama in an all-too-familiar scene.
  For the third time in just 2 years of the Trump Presidency, we are 
once more in the midst of a government shutdown. It is important to 
remember how we got here.
  In December, the Senate majority leader brought to the floor a 
temporary funding bill to keep the Federal Government open. It passed 
this Chamber unanimously. Everyone--all 100 Senators at the time--
agreed that, at the very least, it was important to keep the government 
open while we debate the issue of border security and immigration 
reform.
  So why on Earth is the government shut down? Well, simply because 
President Trump has decided to hold the government hostage because he 
didn't get funding for a costly, ineffective wall. Shutting down the 
government over billions of dollars for a wall is like canceling the 
World Series because your team didn't make it.
  At nearly 3 weeks into the Trump shutdown, we can track and see the 
devastating effects of the President's hostage-taking. Some 800,000 
Federal employees are going without pay, and the longer this goes on, 
the more their worries mount. Mortgages, student loan payments, car 
payments, heating bills, food on the table--President Trump may operate 
from crisis to crisis, but countless American families are living 
paycheck to paycheck.
  I have heard from many of the individuals and families who are part 
of the approximately 7,800 Federal workers across Massachusetts, and 
they are rightfully anxious about how they will make ends meet. Twenty-
two percent of Federal employees in Massachusetts are veterans--22 
percent. So how does Donald Trump repay thousands of individuals who 
have served and sacrificed for their country? By not paying them.
  Let's be clear about who these workers are. They are janitors, 
cafeteria workers, secretaries, security guards. WORK, Incorporated, is 
the largest employer of individuals with disabilities in New England 
under the Federal AbilityOne Program. It employs hundreds of 
individuals with significant disabilities who work across Federal 
facilities in the region, but because of the Trump shutdown, they 
aren't going to work. If they are not working, they are not being paid, 
and they are not

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providing the critical services which are needed for families in New 
England and across the whole country.
  We have gone from Mexico paying for the border wall to Americans 
going without pay. That is how absurd the President is being in terms 
of who ultimately winds up paying the price for his campaign promises.
  What is more, the Trump shutdown reaches beyond workers and empty 
paychecks.
  The shutdown of the Environmental Protection Agency means almost all 
of the 516 employees in EPA region 1, which includes New England, have 
been furloughed. That has halted cleanup of rivers and other 
brownfields all across our region. It endangers the water, the air, all 
of the work that is done to protect the 13 million people who live in 
New England.
  It means the Federal investigation into the deadly September 13 
natural gas explosions and fires in Merrimack Valley is suspended and 
residents are left waiting for answers. The Trump shutdown is shutting 
down justice for the residents of Lawrence and Andover and North 
Andover because that investigation is now suspended.
  We are heading for absolute catastrophe if the shutdown stretches on 
much longer as millions of vulnerable, low-income Americans relying on 
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--or SNAP--may have had 
their benefits cut severely. That is going to put 764,000 of the 
poorest Massachusetts residents at risk of hunger.
  President Trump may think it is OK to furlough workers, but he can't 
furlough hunger, he can't furlough dirty drinking water, he can't 
furlough pipeline accidents. We need an open government to prevent 
these things from happening.
  In just a few hours, we will hear from the President. He will go on 
TV tonight and present a fear and hate-ridden case about a manufactured 
national security emergency at our border.
  The irony is, the longer President Trump extends this government 
shutdown, the more insecure and unsafe American families become because 
Federal workers aren't there to protect them against the things that 
they work every day to ensure that each and every family in our country 
are spared from--the pain that otherwise would be inflicted.
  So the Department of Homeland Security is one of the agencies the 
President has shut down. An outsized number of Transportation Security 
Agency screeners and agents who screen and apprehend dangerous suspects 
at airports are calling in sick rather than work without pay. Some have 
even quit.
  Sadly, our own American President is the architect of this crisis. 
The truth is, there are more Americans today going without their 
paycheck than immigrants who illegally crossed the southern border in 
the past 2 years.
  Trump has completely manufactured this emergency, but there is an 
impending one if this Trump shutdown continues and Americans are left 
without government services. So let's end this.
  To my Republican colleagues, let's pass the bipartisan legislation to 
reopen the government. You supported it before; support it again. Raise 
your voices. Let's put people back to work, and let's provide certainty 
for the American public.
  Once again, I thank Senator Kaine and Senator Shaheen for their 
leadership in organizing this very important colloquy.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. HASSAN. Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleagues in 
calling for an end to this senseless government shutdown. I, too, want 
to thank my friend and colleague from New Hampshire as well as my 
friend from Virginia for their leadership in bringing us together 
tonight to speak about the need to move forward and end this shutdown.
  All across our country, Americans are feeling the impact of this 
shutdown, and government services people rely on have been put to a 
halt.
  In New Hampshire, our farmers were relieved last month at the passage 
of the farm bill. Now, thanks to the shutdown, they are again facing 
uncertainty that they may not receive the financial assistance they 
need to help them operate.
  Our craft breweries, which contribute to our economy, are unable to 
move forward with new projects because the brewers can't get the 
projects approved through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
  At the White Mountain National Forest, some visitors' services are 
closed, and at this amazingly beautiful national resource, trash is 
piling up.
  Additionally, the shutdown is creating safety concerns with regard to 
air travel. The Airline Pilots Association International recently wrote 
to the President to say that the shutdown is ``adversely affecting the 
safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system.''
  We know this shutdown is impacting our Federal workforce. These are 
law enforcement officers, border security agents, members of our Coast 
Guard, workers from our National Park Service, TSA agents, and so many 
other people who dedicate their lives to serving their fellow citizens, 
but because of the shutdown, many workers are scrambling to make ends 
meet.
  President Trump has said these workers can simply ``make 
adjustments'' to stay financially secure, but in making such a claim, 
the President grossly ignores the reality that hard-working Americans 
face. What an out-of-touch statement.
  One missed paycheck can be the difference between people being able 
to put food on the table or not, of making their monthly mortgage 
payments, of affording their medications.
  If, as the President suggests, the shutdown drags on for months or 
even years, those hardships to our families and our economy will grow 
as paychecks continue to be delayed.
  It doesn't have to be this way. Last week, the House of 
Representatives passed bills that have received substantial support 
from Members of both parties in the Senate and would reopen the 
government immediately. Those included robust funding for border 
security, funding to support commonsense improvements, including better 
technology that border agents say they need. Unfortunately, the 
President is more focused on campaign slogans than on strengthening 
border security based on the facts on the ground. As a result, the 
President has created a crisis for families across the country, 
including for the border protection agents and law enforcement officers 
whose duty it is to protect us.
  The fact is that we can keep our country safe while also reopening 
our government. That is why Leader McConnell must bring the bipartisan 
bills that have passed the House to the Senate floor and the President 
must sign them into law.
  In the meantime, I am focused on ensuring that our Federal workforce 
gets the pay that they deserve and that they have earned. That is why I 
have joined with a bipartisan group of colleagues on legislation to 
ensure that any government employee furloughed as a result of this 
shutdown or any future ones will be paid retroactively as soon as 
appropriations are restored. I cosponsored legislation that would fund 
Coast Guard operations during lapses in appropriations--including pay--
for members of the Coast Guard.
  Mr. President, it is time for these games to end. We need to keep 
providing the government services that Americans rely on, and the 
people who provide these services deserve stability not only for their 
own sake but for that of the people and country they serve. More 
broadly, the American people deserve to know our government can operate 
effectively without these constant games and irresponsible tactics from 
the President.
  Let's move on from this shutdown. Let's reopen our government.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you, Mr. President.
  First, I want to thank my colleague from Virginia, Mr. Kaine, for 
bringing us together this evening on the floor of the Senate to talk 
about the urgent need to end the government shutdown because of the 
mounting toll it is taking on the American public and on Federal 
employees who are going without paychecks at this very moment.
  This is a shutdown that President Trump said he would be ``proud'' to 
put in place, but I think, if he begins to look around and see the 
consequences,

[[Page S58]]

he has to ask himself what he means by being proud.
  Just yesterday, I had a roundtable discussion with many Federal 
workers in my State of Maryland. I wish President Trump had been there 
at the roundtable to hear what these public servants had to say. Maybe 
if he had listened, he would know that a government shutdown is nothing 
anybody should be proud of. I want to share some of the stories my 
constituents shared with me yesterday, and I hope President Trump is 
listening to all of us here this evening.
  Tyra was one of the people who came yesterday. She works for the 
Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. She has to keep 
reporting to work every day, but she is not getting a paycheck. Tyra 
talked about the challenges of juggling the cost of medicine, food, and 
gas for her daily commute to a job where she is not getting paid right 
now. She told me yesterday: ``I am trying to figure out how to get my 
child lunch.'' That is what the shutdown means for Tyra.
  I heard the President say the other day: ``I can relate, and I am 
sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make 
adjustments. They always do.'' That is the President of the United 
States saying he can relate to these hard-working Federal employees who 
are now going without a paycheck. Someone needs to tell the President 
that in the United States of America, 40 percent of our fellow citizens 
lack the $400 in their bank account that would be needed for an 
emergency. So when you are talking about skipping a pay period, you are 
talking about thousands of families who are not going to be able to 
make ends meet. Mr. Trump can hang out at Trump Tower, and he can fly 
down to Mar-a-Lago, but it is pretty clear that one thing he cannot do 
is relate to the people who are going without a paycheck right now but 
who have bills they have to pay.
  Another individual who joined us yesterday was Trish. Trish is an 
aerospace engineer at NASA. Trish is trying to buy a home, but the 
shutdown is throwing a wrench in those plans because her mortgage 
company, not surprisingly, says that they need current pay stubs from 
her in order to close on her purchase. What can she tell them? She 
doesn't have any current pay stubs coming in, so she may not be able to 
get that mortgage.
  Mary works at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC. She 
told us about the important work CFTC does to safeguard the financial 
system against financial wrongdoing and fraud. She explained that 
because of this shutdown, the CFTC cannot pursue legal cases against 
bad actors who were defrauding American consumers and that they have 
had to ask the courts to suspend those cases.
  So I guess the shutdown is good for those who are trying to take 
advantage of our fellow citizens through various financial schemes. It 
certainly is not fair to those who are working hard and playing by the 
rules and who want to do the public's business, like our Federal 
employees.
  Mary said that because of the shutdown, she has had to make some 
difficult decisions in her own household. Mary's mother was recently 
widowed, and the shutdown is hurting her ability to help her mother 
make do during this tough time.
  Before I had this forum with a number of Federal employees who have 
been shut out of work, I visited Prince George's Community College in 
Maryland. It is a great community college. The president of that 
community college is Dr. Dukes. As I was going to meet Dr. Dukes, I met 
a mom on the elevator. The mom had been there to talk about her 
daughter who is enrolled there. It turned out that her mother is a 
Federal employee who has been shut out of the Department of Commerce. 
Then I talked to Dr. Dukes, and the president of this great community 
college told me that she has been getting phone calls all week from 
parents who have students enrolled at Prince George's Community College 
who are on a monthly installment payment plan, and they are calling the 
president of this community college and saying: What are we going to be 
able to do? We are not going to be able to make our next payment on our 
child's community college tuition bill.
  Just today, I got a number of letters from air traffic controllers in 
Maryland. They, like thousands of other Federal employees, are working 
every day right now, but they are not getting paid for it.
  Tension is mounting, frustration is mounting for the air traffic 
controllers, a lot of Federal law enforcement officers, and the people 
at the border, our border security. So, Mr. President, you don't know 
how to relate to these fellow Americans who are struggling because of 
your shutdown.
  In the Senate, our failure to take up the bills that have already 
passed the House and are sitting right here in the Senate to reopen the 
Federal Government is making this Senate complicit in this Trump 
shutdown. Every day that goes by where we don't make our first order of 
business ending the shutdown makes the Senate an accomplice in the 
Trump shutdown. The House made it its first order of business to say: 
Let's reopen government. They passed two bills. Both bills have 
overwhelming support for their components here in the Senate.
  I have the first bill they passed right here in my hand. H.J. Res. 1 
says to open the Department of Homeland Security at current funding 
levels through February 8 while we negotiate the best way to provide 
border security. This is on the Senate calendar. We can vote on this 
tonight. Of course, the irony here is that this Senate, just before the 
Christmas break, voted on exactly this measure. We voted on a 
bipartisan basis to open the Homeland Security Department at current 
levels through February 8 while we negotiate. We have already done it. 
So why are we not taking up this bill this evening?
  The other bill that passed the Senate I have right here in my hand. 
It is also on the Senate calendar. This bill that passed the House on 
their opening day would open eight of the nine Departments that are 
closed. The first bill would open the Department of Homeland Security, 
while we negotiate, until February 8. The other bill opens eight of the 
nine other Federal Departments that have been closed.
  Here is the kicker: The House did not adopt the House appropriations 
levels. The House looked at what the Senate had passed on a bipartisan 
basis either here on the Senate floor or in the Senate Appropriations 
Committee, and they took the Senate funding levels to open those eight 
Departments through the entire fiscal year, through September 30.
  Mr. President, we all have a very simple question: Why is the 
majority leader and why are our Republican colleagues not bringing up 
those House bills that are sitting right here in the Senate? We have 
already supported those bills on a bipartisan basis. We can pass these 
bills to reopen the government tonight, and there is no excuse for not 
doing it.
  I am going to close by sharing the comments of one of the other 
individuals who joined me yesterday at that gathering. His name is Otis 
Johnson. He works here at the National Gallery of Art. His message to 
President Trump: ``Mr. President, if you really can relate to how the 
Federal employee is feeling, you need to go ahead and open the 
government back up so our people who want to work can get back to work 
and handle America's business.''
  I wish President Trump was listening to Otis and all the other hard-
working Federal employees I met with yesterday. If he talked to them, 
he would hear their stories, and he would know they are suffering, as 
are the American people who every day are losing access to important 
services.
  I want to again thank my colleague from Virginia, Mr. Kaine, and my 
other colleagues.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to join my 
colleagues in voicing my sincere hope that the President will end this 
senseless shutdown.
  The American people are tired of our country being held hostage and 
our economy threatened. There are real consequences. I see it all the 
time. Of course my State, unlike Mr. Van Hollen's State of Maryland and 
the State of Virginia, may not have as high a percentage of Federal 
workers, but for every worker who has been hit by this, it is the same 
story.
  At our airport just this weekend, I talked to countless TSA officers. 
They

[[Page S59]]

said: We will continue to do our job, but now we are not going to get 
paid. You think about these people on the frontline who are doing the 
work for our country, who are keeping us safe, and who are not getting 
paid because of this senseless shutdown. You hear about the garbage 
piling up in our national parks. You hear about people having trouble 
paying their rent or mortgage. You hear about the fears about airport 
security lines. Everyday Americans are affected by this as well.
  Other consequences of this shutdown are less visible but deeply 
painful for those affected. There are entrepreneurs who want to take 
their companies public but can't get approval by the SEC. You have 
rural home buyers who can't get their mortgages backed by the 
Agriculture Department. Farmers can't access critical loans or 
information about how the Department will implement the new farm bill. 
We were so proud to pass the new farm bill in this Chamber on a 
bipartisan basis--something the President took credit for--and now we 
can't even implement it and help our farmers as they approach growing 
season in the spring. They don't even know what is going to happen with 
the new provisions of this farm bill, especially the dairy farmers of 
Minnesota, who have been hit so hard by low prices and by the trade war 
that we are in.
  While this trade war is going on, we are also going to not be able to 
help them and to deny the help that vulnerable Americans need. Funding 
for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps put food 
on the table for 38 million Americans, would be severely reduced or cut 
off all together. The Department of Housing and Urban Development 
payments that maintain housing for 3 million Americans could be in 
jeopardy.
  It is time to put aside the political games, and it is time to get in 
the real game--and that is the lives of American people--and to stop 
this shutdown. It means reopening our entire government so we can work 
on the issues that matter.
  This is a time in our country when we should not be governing from 
crisis. We should be governing from opportunity. After the downturn, 
the economy had stabilized, and we should be working with the rest of 
the world. We should be selling our goods to market and building the 
infrastructure in this country. We should be doing something about 
prescription drug prices. We should be training our workers for the 
jobs that are available today and the jobs that will be available 
tomorrow.
  There are simple proposals out there. There is the Senate and the 
House of Representatives legislation that passed through this body 
unanimously--not a single Senator opposed it--yet the President 
suddenly changed course and, once again, insisted that he needs over $5 
billion immediately. The new House has now passed legislation to fund 
all shuttered agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security 
through the end of the fiscal year. That includes the Treasury 
Department, the Agriculture Department, the Interior Department--
government agencies that provide critical services. These 
noncontroversial bills were originally drafted and approved by the 
Senate Appropriations Committee run by the Republican Party. None of 
this makes sense to me at all. The measures that were passed by the 
House are sensible, and they are ones that have been supported in the 
past by Republicans in this Chamber.
  Shutdowns are not good for the economy. I lived through the 2013 
shutdown. That was estimated to cost our economy over $20 billion. The 
President's own economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, has estimated that 
this shutdown will shrink our economy by 0.1 percent every 2 weeks. 
Maybe that doesn't sound like much. Do you know how much it really is? 
It is roughly $10 billion every single week. That is real money for 
real Americans. So stop the games.
  Shutting down the government should not be a negotiating tactic. If 
President Trump were to agree to sign the bills that the House has now 
passed and every Member of the Senate supported last month, we would 
end this shutdown. Instead, critical services and our economy are being 
threatened with poison pill partisanship.
  To my colleagues in the Senate, I say this: Let's get this done. We 
owe it to the people whom we were elected to serve. We owe it to the 
country. As one former Congresswoman once said, America should be as 
good as its promise. This is a promise we made to them when we were 
elected--to do the best for them and to serve our country. Let's get it 
done.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, I rise tonight to talk about the 
government shutdown. I thank my colleague from Minnesota for her 
remarks. I remember the 2013 shutdown that she talked about. The reason 
I remember that is that while this place was shut down by the Senator 
from Texas, my State was under water from some of the worst floods we 
had ever seen, and there were people at every level of government--the 
local level, county government, the State level--coming together to 
work with FEMA, coming together to work with religious organizations, 
coming together to work with ordinary people to literally dig 
themselves out of the mud and the rocks that were the consequence of 
floods we had never seen before. I had to stand there almost like a 
fool explaining that the Federal Government was shut down for politics, 
and here we are again.
  For 10 years, I have come to this floor and said over and over that 
this place had become the land of flickering lights. The standard of 
success was only whether we kept the lights on for one more day or one 
more week. The standard of success had nothing to do with whether we 
invested in the next generation of Americans and had nothing to do with 
what America's place in the world was, and tonight, 18 days later, we 
are shut down.
  Just like in Minnesota and just like in New Hampshire, people in 
Colorado are suffering as a result of this. This shutdown is inflicting 
real harm on people who are Federal workers who can't pay their 
mortgage, can't take care of their kids, can't hire a plumber.
  We heard today that the EPA is only getting paid half of their 
paycheck. You can't pay only half your mortgage. You can't go to the 
grocery store and pay only half your bill. We have farmers and ranchers 
all over the State of Colorado who can't get operating loans from the 
FSA to buy seed or fertilizer.
  We have had FEMA meetings canceled and critical projects delayed that 
are vital to our rebuilding after the 2013 flood, the last time there 
was a long shutdown like this. After a terrible fire year in Colorado, 
the Forest Service can't move forward with new projects or reduce 
wildfire risks in our communities.
  Rocky Mountain National Park is closed. Why do people from Estes Park 
have to bear the burden of the stupidity of this place--the inability 
to govern like every other entity in America governs, where you could 
never shut down your local government and you could never shut down 
your school district? But for some reason, you can do it over politics. 
In this case, why? It is over a mnemonic device that the Trump campaign 
supplied to candidate Trump--the wall--and two things that weren't 
true: one, that Mexico would pay for the wall. If he had fulfilled that 
promise, we wouldn't be here because there wouldn't be a need for $5 
billion because the Mexicans would pay for this wall. That is what he 
said over and over. It was objectively not true, just as it is not true 
that what is needed is the wall that he has proposed.
  We had a bill here in 2013 that 68 Senators voted for. That bill had 
$46 billion of border security in it, 350 miles of fencing on the 
southern border, internal security, and fixed our visa system--far more 
effective than the ineffective wall that the President is trying to 
build now for $5 billion. He can't even spend the money that has 
already been appropriated, and now he has shut the government down for 
$5 billion to keep a campaign promise that is not true. It wasn't true 
then, and it is not true now.
  This is ridiculous. Last week, China marked the New Year by landing a 
spacecraft on the dark side of the Moon. That has never happened before 
in human history. Here in the United States, while they were 
accomplishing that, we had a government shutdown. Close observers might 
say--and they would be right--that NASA--which, by the way, is closed--
marked New Year's

[[Page S60]]

Day by successfully flying the New Horizons probe past an object 4 
billion miles away. We should celebrate that achievement, but let's 
also remember that mission was 18 years in the making because people 
planned for the future. An American craft is literally on the outer 
edge of human discovery, and last week we were shut down while the 
Chinese landed their craft on the other side of the Moon. Because of 
the fecklessness of people in this body, we can't even put an astronaut 
into space now. We have to call up the Russians and ask them to put us 
on a rocket to take us up there. Do you think our parents and 
grandparents would have stood for that?
  There was a unanimous vote in this Chamber, and it passed in the 
other Chamber. We should reopen the government. This is doing too much 
damage to the country, and the President should understand that part of 
his job of being President is keeping the government open, not cheering 
it when it is closed.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. JONES. Mr. President, first of all, let me say how much I 
appreciate my colleagues on the floor--particularly, Senator Bennet's 
comments--and the passion that everyone has shown for the people in 
this country and why we are here for the people that we represent, 
whether they voted for us or not. That is not the issue. We are here to 
represent all the people, and I really appreciate those incredible 
words from my colleagues and, particularly, the passion shown by 
Senator Bennet.
  I am rising today to give my voice to the thousands of Alabamians who 
are also suffering as a result of this government shutdown. It is not 
just the folks who are employed but those who are affected by this 
shutdown by whatever means necessary.
  There are people who are not employed by the government who are also 
affected. In the midst of all the political posturing that we have 
seen, the costly government shutdown has hurt over 5,100 Alabama 
workers, their families, and the people who rely on them to do their 
job. Thousands more are contractors who will not get backpay. Unlike 
the Federal workers, who traditionally get backpay, these contractors 
who are not working now because there is no work to be had with the 
Federal Government will not get backpay from their employers.
  Our Coast Guard employees, who aren't paid through the Department of 
Defense budget that passed last year, don't know whether their paycheck 
will come or not. By the way, it is the Coast Guard who is interdicting 
so much of the illegal drugs that are attempting to come into this 
country. It is not the southern border. It is the Coast Guard, which we 
are putting at risk, that is doing the best job of interdicting the 
illegal drugs that are attempting to come into this country.
  These folks pay the price of this shutdown while this political drama 
that we have seen in Washington, DC, drags on and on--on cable TV, on 
Twitter, and on other social media platforms. These folks are hard-
working Alabamians who keep our airports safe. They protect our 
communities. They monitor our prisons.
  We have three Federal prisons in Alabama. Three of the workers in the 
Aliceville prison were on CNN today talking about the effects on them 
and their community in Aliceville, AL. These are people who support our 
national defense, like folks in Redstone Arsenal and at all of the 
military bases in our State. They support the aerospace programs in our 
State. These are the folks who are getting hurt. Many of these people 
are veterans who have gone on to serve their country a second time by 
working in Federal service.
  Most of these folks support strong border security. I venture to 
guess that all of them support strong border security. Some will 
support the wall, as the President has described it, but they don't 
agree with--they don't support--shutting down the Government of the 
United States of America in a way to just get that wall or that border 
security done. They do not support that at the expense of their 
communities and their families.

  Over the past 18 days or so since this shutdown, I have heard from 
any number of my constituents. They call the office here in Washington, 
and they call the offices in Huntsville, in Mobile, in Birmingham, and 
in Montgomery. They talk about how they are hurting already because of 
the shutdown.
  One constituent who wrote to me is a small business owner in North 
Alabama, near Huntsville, whose 30-plus employees have provided very 
important, continuous support for NASA programs for the past 7 years. 
As their work gets delayed or stopped altogether, these folks don't 
know whether they are going to have jobs. If their work stops, those 
employees are going to need jobs, and they are going to start looking 
for other jobs. In the economy that we have now, in which unemployment 
is low, people are looking for workers, and they are going to find 
those jobs. So his business may get shut down.
  There is a military spouse who also works for the Federal Government 
whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan right now. She also wrote to 
me and urged an end to this shutdown. She said that while she supports 
the wall, she doesn't believe that Federal employees should be used as 
bargaining chips just to get it done. She said that a lapse in funding 
would be devastating for her job and that her family needs the 
paychecks to cover these bills. This is a family that is already living 
under stress with its having a husband and father in Afghanistan. This 
family doesn't need the extra stress.
  On behalf of her family of four in Smiths Station, AL, another mother 
wrote to me about her family's lapse in healthcare coverage since the 
shutdown because the employees at a Federal health insurance agency, 
GEHA, have been furloughed. Her family's change in coverage was never 
fully processed by the end of the year. So it lapsed and was canceled 
as of December 31. The family members are now facing important medical 
decisions--appointments, prescriptions, refills in the next few weeks--
but don't know if they are going to have the insurance to cover it.
  The administration announced today that the deadline for farmers to 
receive their subsidies, because of the administration's trade 
policies, will be extended, which all sounds really great. It sounds 
all good and well. We are going to extend it. We are going to put a 
bandaid on this for our farmers. These farmers have been hit hard by 
the trade war that this administration has started, which I have talked 
about on the floor of the Senate on any number of occasions and around 
my State.
  To ease that pain, a few months ago the administration decided to 
allocate $12 billion as almost a bailout. Now, these farmers really 
don't want these handouts. They want their markets. Yet, to ease their 
pain, to its credit, the administration came up with $12 billion to 
ease that pain. Less than half of that amount--roughly, about $5.2 
billion in payments--was made before the Department of Agriculture's 
local offices were closed. While extending that deadline sounds very 
good and is, simply, putting a bandaid over the wound, the fact is that 
until we get this government open, farmers who did not get their 
payments in before this shutdown are going to have a problem.
  Another problem with the shutdown is that they can't depend on the 
Federal Government any more than they can depend on the weather. These 
farmers are at risk every season, every year, of things that are out of 
their control. What they don't need is a government that they cannot 
depend on, and that is what we have right now. They are out of luck at 
a time at which they need it the most, as they are starting to plan for 
their spring planting and summer planting--their loans, their crops, 
buying the seed--as Senator Bennet talked about a few moments ago.
  There is one constituent who wrote me a really heartbreaking letter 
about the impact of losing her SNAP benefits after January 31 if the 
shutdown continues. She is living on a razor's edge financially and 
depends on Social Security disability benefits and SNAP dollars to 
survive. It is not a lot of money on a monthly basis. It is such a 
small amount of money that folks in this body and folks in the House 
and, certainly, the folks in the administration wouldn't think twice 
about it. It is probably less than they spend at Starbucks every 
morning, but, for her, it is an incredibly important part of her life, 
and we have to make sure that we do everything not to let her down.

[[Page S61]]

  I did see, just before I came over here, that the administration has 
said that we are going to extend it. We are going to make sure that 
SNAP benefits are paid in February. Again, that is great and sounds 
wonderful, but it is a bandaid. Sooner or later, if we don't end up 
doing something about this shutdown, that bandaid is going to be ripped 
off, and these folks are going to be left in the cold once again.
  We need to remember--and I think this gets lost sometimes in the talk 
about this shutdown--that this is not just about the paychecks and the 
direct benefits that people in this country receive from the Federal 
Government. It also affects all of those people in our communities who 
serve those who work for the government--those who take in their 
grocery money and take in their utility money and take in their gas 
money. It is going to affect those people. It is going to affect car 
dealers, and it is going to affect local businesses. It is just like 
the folks at the prison in Aliceville said today, which is that sooner 
or later, if they don't have money to spend around Aliceville, it is 
going to affect that community. This touches so many people in this 
country that we need not lose sight of that.
  The letters and calls and voice mails are pouring in every day as 
this shutdown continues. More and more Americans face the increasing 
consequences of the impasse that we see here in Washington, DC. There 
is, simply put, no excuse for it. We can and must do better. We can and 
must find the common ground that so many of us talk about. Every day, 
over and over, we talk about finding common ground, but we have to 
practice what we preach in terms of finding that common ground.
  This past year, I talked to a number of my constituents back home who 
had gone through a number of issues. I talked to a lot of people who 
asked me to support the wall. They stopped me over the holidays, and I 
would always stop and talk to them. They were always very respectful, 
unlike with some things that happen in our political discourse today. 
These people were always very respectful, and we had nice 
conversations. When I asked them what they were talking about, they 
said that I needed to vote for a wall.
  They said: We just need border security, Senator. We need border 
security.
  This gave me the opportunity to say: I completely agree.
  Unfortunately, the so-called ``wall'' that we keep hearing about, 
primarily on Twitter, has really become just a metaphor to support a 
secure border. To oppose it is to oppose a secure border. That makes no 
sense. What is getting lost in this debate is that every Member of this 
body wants secure borders. Every Member of this body and every Member 
of the House wants border security measures that will keep our 
communities safe. We might have disagreements about the best way to 
make sure our borders are secure, and we might have disagreements on 
what border security will look like, but it doesn't mean that we want 
open borders as I keep hearing from the administration. That is a 
preposterous statement.
  In fact, in the last Congress, we had one of the President's nominees 
before us for the head of ICE. He used to work on the border. He was 
there. He controlled it. He was the head of border security.
  I asked him in the hearing: Have you ever heard one politician--have 
you ever heard anybody in Washington, DC--say that he is for open 
borders?
  He said: No, sir, not at all.
  We have to get away from that political posturing so that we can find 
the common ground that is necessary to move this forward. The fact of 
the matter is that we have found common ground. We have found that 
common ground right here in this body.
  Last February, in the midst of bipartisan talks on more comprehensive 
immigration reform, a number of senior administration officials came to 
the Senate and briefed Members on the situation at the border. They 
outlined how an infusion of money in the context of a larger piece of 
legislation could improve security and conditions for asylum seekers 
and on the border. In the wake of that presentation--if I recall 
correctly, they proposed a $25 billion price tag for border security--
Republicans and Democrats alike, which was a majority of the U.S. 
Senate, voted to include that $25 billion in border security funding 
over the next decade. That was a bipartisan effort.
  Over the course of the last spring and early summer, the U.S. Senate 
Appropriations Committee--led by my colleague from Alabama, Senator 
Shelby, and by Senator Leahy, the ranking member--passed a bipartisan 
Homeland Security funding bill by a vote of 25 to 5. It did that in 
June of this year. It included $1.6 billion in border security funding, 
which was on top of the $1.3 billion, I think, that was funded last 
year. What has started this whole process today is the administration's 
demand of a blank check of $5.6 billion for a wall as the price to 
reopen the government. That is, simply, not how our government should 
work.
  Now, candidly and in all fairness, in recent days, we have gone from 
an argument that was just, simply, about dollars and cents on both 
sides of the aisle--5.6 versus 1.6 or 1.3--to where we have now seen 
the administration begin to slowly roll out how it would actually spend 
that money. There was no plan in the beginning. It was just ``send us 
$5.6 billion.'' We are learning about that plan via Twitter and on the 
TV talk shows, not the way this body is used to getting information 
from the administration--through a budget process or through some 
proposal about which you can ask questions and can vet.
  If the administration is serious about border security--and it should 
be serious about border security, just like the Senate of the United 
States and the House of Representatives of the United States should be 
serious about border security--we should reopen the rest of the 
government. Officials should also come back to the Hill, like they did 
in February, and brief Members of both parties in Congress about what 
is needed and of exactly the new border security money and how it will 
be spent.
  This week, the House has been voting on a series--or will be voting 
on a series--of funding bills that the Senate has already passed, many 
by a vote of 92 to 6. Think about that. As I travel around the State, I 
tell people all the time what I saw last year--my first year--which is 
that there is so much more bipartisanship in this body that you don't 
see just by watching C-SPAN and listening to dueling press conferences. 
There is a lot of it that goes on, and we passed those bills by 92 to 
6.
  These bills will ensure that the Federal employees and contractors 
can go back to work and can get paid, that food assistance and housing 
vouchers can go forward, that vital research can be done, that our 
parks and museums can reopen, that our airports are safe, and that our 
prisons are monitored. Instead of handing political appointees a 10-
percent raise, it will ensure that we will pay the Coast Guard, whose 
members continue to serve throughout this shutdown without knowing if 
their next paychecks are going to come.
  I am literally sad to say--and I really hope people will take this 
into account, especially the folks who have been here for a long time--
that in my first year here, my first year in the Senate, this is the 
third government shutdown that we have seen. We should be embarrassed 
about that, and the administration should be embarrassed about that. At 
every opportunity, I have voted to keep the government open. I can't 
say that I would do it every time, because it will depend on the 
circumstances, but, thus far, I have done all I can to keep this 
government open.
  The American people are frustrated and disheartened by the 
dysfunction and empty rhetoric that they hear out of this town, but we 
have to remember that the Senate of the United States has done its job 
and done so in a deliberative and bipartisan way. No one on either side 
of the political aisle should lose sight of that.

  We came together and found common ground, and we should insist that 
the President of the United States not only acknowledge that but honor 
that, get this government up and running, and let's sit down to 
continue to discuss the plans for the border security that we all know 
is necessary and we would like.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.

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