Local lawmakers, leaders comment on government shutdown

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jan 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-20 14:39:34-05

People across the country woke up on Saturday to find that their government is in yet another shutdown. 

Bickering politicians failed to keep their government in business, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.

Now, local Maryland lawmakers and leaders are releasing their thoughts on the shutdown. 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan sent out a tweet early Saturday morning saying that Congress needs to do their jobs. 

Congressman John K. Delaney sent said finger-pointing and blaming needs to end, and that it is time for the government to work together, 

“Washington has tried the hyper-partisan approach for over a year now and it’s brought us to this point of total breakdown and dysfunction. Previous shutdowns have proven to be bad for the country, bad for the economy and bad for people that depend upon government services. Moreover, government shutdowns are especially damaging and disruptive to Maryland. There’s got to be a sense of urgency now to get a deal done. I hope everyone gets the hash-tagging and the blame game out of their system soon, because frankly the American people don’t care about that. It’s time for us to work together on a responsible long-term budget that addresses the pressing needs of the country.”

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen spoke about what needs to be done, but most of his statement was about how disappointed he was that the shutdown happened, 

“I am extremely disappointed that President Trump and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rejected bipartisan proposals to keep the government open and to reach a budget agreement that supports our troops, funds vital community health centers, gives security to Dreamers, and makes critical investments in combatting the opioid epidemic and supporting our economy. We must now work around the clock until we get an agreement to open the government. It is outrageous that Senate Republicans refused to keep our government open for another three days in order to resolve these issues in a bipartisan manner. President Trump once tweeted about the need for ‘a good government shutdown.’ I have news for the President: there are no good government shutdowns.”

While Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger mentioned he was disappointed, most of his statement focused on what he was going to do to help Marylanders, 

 “When one party has control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, you would expect that it would be easy to keep the government open. I am disheartened and frustrated that it has come to this. As we learned in 2013, the effects of this shutdown will be severe here in Maryland, which is home to more than 60 federal agencies and at least 140,000 federal employees and contractors. Many of these hard-working men and women – including my staff and constituents – are now facing indefinite furloughs, jeopardizing their ability to support their families, their communities and their country. But unlike in 2013 – when the government was held hostage by opponents of Obamacare – this shutdown has occurred for no other reason than discord within the Republican party. They had the votes to pass their own funding resolution with Democratic support and failed. To that end, I will continue to oppose stop-gap funding bills like the one that passed along party lines Thursday night. This was the fourth Continuing Resolution of this fiscal year.  These band aid budgets rob our military of the certainty it needs and this most recent bill fails to fund even bipartisan efforts like disaster aid, the opioid epidemic and healthcare for our veterans. They are no way to govern. I encourage the leaders of both parties to continue negotiations and reopen our government as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I am supporting legislation to guarantee back pay for both furloughed workers and essential staff who work without pay through the shutdown.”

Outside of politics, former National President and CEO of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, released the following statement saying how leaders should not accept pay during the shutdown, 

"Maryland is home to many federal employees and military families who are not paid if the government remains shut down, putting at risk their ability to provide for their families and pay their bills on time" Jealous said. "Meanwhile the politicians who caused the shutdown will continue to be paid when it was their recklessness and inability to do their jobs that caused the shutdown in the first place. This is shameful, and the right thing to do is for those politicians to live as their constituents and not accept their tax funded paychecks until a deal is in place ensuring that impacted federal workers will also be paid and able to provide for their families.  As a prominent member of the Republican Party, I urge Governor Hogan to stand up for Maryland families and join me in calling for this commonsense response to the shutdown."   

This story will be updated as more statements are sent out. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.