Statement ● Shutdown
For Immediate Release: 
January 24, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the Floor this afternoon to share the stories of his constituents who are negatively affected by the Trump shutdown. Below is a link to the video and excerpts of his remarks:
 
Click here to watch the full remarks.
 
“Madam Speaker, I rise to join with my colleagues in highlighting the absurdity of the Trump-McConnell shutdown and share some of the ways, just some few ways, it's affecting Americans in my district. Now, ladies and gentlemen, you can go to this website and get scores more stories than I will be able to tell on this Floor in this short time I will speak.

"Maryland's Fifth District, which I have the great honor of having represented for the last 38 years, has 62,000 federal employees. Tens of thousands of whom are not getting paid and some… who are voluntarily working because they love this country and they love their jobs, and they're working without pay.

“Is that any way to treat any employee, much less an employee working for their government?

“One woman from Prince George’s County, Maryland wrote me to tell me her husband, an astrophysicist at Goddard’s Space Flight Center, is furloughed. She isn't working because they have an infant, and he [is] the only source of their income.

“Another constituent wrote to tell me that he serves in the Coast Guard. He said, ‘As I was putting my 9-year-old son to bed last night, he asked me, “Dad, how come they're making you work without pay?”’

“He went on to say, ‘I gave him an answer about having taken an oath and that it's my duty to serve. But he was still confused.’ I share that young child's concern and confusion. Why would we do this? What would lead us to show such disrespect for those who carry out our policy?

"All Americans should be confused about why our hardworking public servants would be forced to work without pay or be told to go home and wait while a paycheck doesn't come.

“It's not just federal employees and contractors who are affected and by the way, contractors – we're going to repay the federal employees, as we should – but the contractors – the small business people, those small shop owners in my district that have thousands of their customers that aren't being paid and therefore are not customers.

“One woman from St. Mary's County, the county in which I live, said this: ‘We were scheduled to close on our home on January 11 and received a phone call three days before that we would not going to be closing because our loan was on hold due to the government shutdown. A time that is supposed to be the happiest and here we sit, with our house in boxes and living week-to-week with the landlord. We don't know if we will lose our home.’

“I would tell President Trump to listen to these stories. Listen to the humanity that must be in you. Be sympathetic, be empathetic, be caring about these people who are your constituents whom you are pledged to protect.

“I would ask the President and Senator McConnell to hear the voices of men and women their shutdown policies [are] hurting. You're going to hear many more stories, Mr. President and Senator McConnell.

“Democrats have voted now eleven times to end this shutdown. And Republicans and the President have blocked these measures again and again. And let me say, Madam Speaker, to those who might be listening, we passed Republican bills to open up this government – not our bills, not partisan bills. [They were] Republican Senate-passed bills which would have opened up the government.

"Madam Speaker, because we care so deeply about our constituents who either work for or are served by our government, we will continue to do everything possible to reopen government and share the stories of those being held hostage by the President and Senator McConnell.

“And I thank my colleagues for being on this Floor to bring their stories of their constituents, of the President's constituents to his attention, as well as Senator McConnell."