Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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Lowey: Trump partial government shutdown is “heartless”

HARRISON – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY-17) and County Executive George Latimer were at Westchester County Airport on Tuesday to denounce the political gridlock that has forced TSA agents and thousands of other federal employees to work without pay for over three weeks. 

“It’s day 18 of President Trump’s government shutdown, the second longest shutdown ever,” Lowey said. The shutdown has resulted in some 420,000 federal employees working without pay and over 100,000 other employees ordered to stay home without pay, she said.

Lowey called the shutdown “unacceptable and heartless” and she thanked the TSA agents “for making sure our air travel is safe” even though they are not being compensated.  “No American should be forced to work without pay and bills for groceries, rent or mortgages, and even the cost of gas to get to work pile up,” she said.

During her remarks, Lowey repeatedly and emphatically blamed President Trump and Senate Republicans for the current political situation.  “Last week the House passed a package of bills that I introduced to end the shutdown and fund most agencies through September. Despite having already passed these bills, Senate Republicans lead by Mitch McConnell refuse to bring them before the president.” 

Lowey, who is the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, says that the bills “would open the government up and create additional time to negotiate the one issue that has caused this disagreement.” Though all six measures introduced have “almost unanimous bipartisan support” in the legislature the president still refuses to approve them. 

Latimer, who had visited his county’s airport during the first week of the shutdown, argued that defunding the TSA will create a border security issue comparable to the one Trump is trying to solve with the border wall. “Our security comes from these professional men and women who check every person in before they get on airplane, as we’ve seen the greatest terrorist threat to our nation are those who would get on a plane and seek to destroy something on the plane or elsewhere.”

Latimer also thanked the TSA agents for “providing a service for us and for working without compensation during one of the busiest times of the year.” The executive lamented that TSA agents are not only working without compensation, but with no promise of back pay once the shutdown has ended. 

“In government there is always a battle between different points of view, but you don’t take as hostages the people that work for you in that process, said Latimer.

 


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