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Held hostage: End the madness now!

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 1/28/2019, 3:09 p.m.
While furloughed government employees are turning to pawn shops to borrow money to pay their rents and mortgages, and others ...
eddie bernice johnson

U.S. House of Representatives

While furloughed government employees are turning to pawn shops to borrow money to pay their rents and mortgages, and others are standing in line at food banks for groceries to feed their families, the president of the United States continues to be indifferent to their plight and refuses to take the meaningful steps that would lead to the reopening of our government, and their return to work.

It should be obvious to all of those who witnessed President Trump’s most recent address to the nation from the White House that he lacks empathy for the 800,000 government employees who are either working without pay or are simply being told to stay at home.

Not once during his nearly 15-minute address did he mention the awful financial and personal realities that they are facing as he holds them and the country hostage. The fact of the matter is that he is more concerned about the opinions of partisan political commentators, who are imploring him not to look weak, than he is about government employees.

Shamefully, he continues to request $5.7 billion for a border wall that the vast majority of security experts say is not necessary and would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

In his speech, the president offered temporary protection for approximately 700,000 young people, referred to as “Dreamers,” who were brought to this country as minors. He also offered a reprieve to nearly 300,000 adult immigrants who are facing deportation.

This is not the first time that we have been down this path with the president. There are those who doubt the sincerity of his proposals. Nearly one year ago, Trump rejected a deal that offered more money than he is currently requesting for a wall in return for a plan that would have offered citizenship to the Dreamers.

While giving his most recent remarks, the president did not address the single most pressing problem that our government faces: the shutdown. It is in his power to reopen the government, bring employees back to work, and return our nation to some sense of normalcy.

As soon as the president reopens our government, Democrats in the House of Representatives will continue to pass legislation that will secure our nation’s southern border, and we are also prepared to address and pass legislation that addresses immigration reform.

Frankly, Trump is not being serious, and until he is, government employees and the people of our nation will continue to suffer. He is presiding over the longest government shutdown in the history of our nation.

Certainly he knows what the right thing to do is. Hopefully, he will end this madness!

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.