January 16, 2019

Cortez Masto Calls on McConnell to Bring Up House-Passed Legislation to Reopen Government

Senator highlights stories of Nevadans affected by Trump Shutdown

Brianna and Family

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today called on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to bring House-passed legislation to reopen shuttered government agencies up for a vote. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Cortez Masto shared the stories of two Nevada constituents affected by the Trump shutdown.

Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery. Senator Cortez Masto’s remarks are available in both AUDIO AND VIDEO FORMAT. You may download video of the speech HERE and audio HERE.

On Friday, the day that thousands of federal workers in Nevada and across the country missed their first paycheck of the Trump shutdown, I was in Reno meeting with two dozen affected workers and families.

These hardworking Nevadans, who serve the American people in the United States Coast Guard, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, and as government contractors, told me about the struggles they’re having, their fears, and the very human consequences of the President’s decision to hold our government hostage.

These Nevadans shared how their finances and their whole lives have been thrown into chaos by this reckless shutdown. Person after person told me that, without the promise of a paycheck, they’re struggling to pay their mortgage or rent, keep up with their other bills, and put food on the table for their families.

Some are cashing out their savings while others consider taking out high-interest pay day loans, risking their good credit just to stay afloat.

And it’s not just federal workers who are suffering. Entire families have had the rug pulled out from under them because of this reckless shutdown.

While I was in Reno, I had the opportunity to meet Brianna and she talked to me about her family. She’s a stay-at-home mom; she has two beautiful daughters. Her husband works in the Coast Guard. Right now, he is reporting to work without pay for the duration of this shutdown.

Briana told me that without their sole source of income, her family would struggle to make ends meet. She told me they are weighing the decision to pull her oldest daughter out of school to move in with her parents until this shutdown is over.

That’s outrageous.

I can’t tell you how many letters and emails I’ve also received in the office. This is one from a veteran in Reno:

I applaud you for standing up to Trump and not wasting taxpayer money on a stupid wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. However, as a federal employee who is also a disabled vet, I'm asking that you support legislation to ensure that we do not lose pay and benefits because of the shutdown. We are currently scheduled to receive our normal pay on December 31, but after that, we have no more checks coming until the shutdown is over.

Despite what others on the Hill have said, many federal employees depend on those checks and face real economic impacts when the government shuts down. We are tired of being demonized by the right, as parasites and bureaucrats, and it's ridiculous that the president wants to freeze our pay and stop all of our pay raises. The federal government is the largest employer of veterans, and we continue supporting our country through our federal service.

No family or individual in the United States of America should have their life upended like this.

So we would ask that that the Majority Leader bring up the House-passed legislation to the floor so we can reopen the government on behalf of federal workers, not only in Nevada but across the country.