Weekly Democratic Address
January 18, 2019
I’m Amy Klobuchar, the Senator from the state of Minnesota.
This weekend, we are on the verge of what soon will be a month-long government shutdown, and it’s the longest and most senseless shutdown in American history. That’s nearly a month of hundreds of thousands of workers not getting paid. That’s nearly a month of everything from air safety to medical advancement being undermined – Nearly a month of unnecessary anxiety and unwarranted chaos.
This past week, the President declared he’ll “never back down” from his decision to shut down the government until he gets what he wants.
We ask the President to come back to the table, and to stop holding the hard-working people of America hostage by requiring them to pay ransom to reopen their government, especially after we already passed bills to reopen the government and to help secure our borders.
We ask the President to end this shutdown.
We ask him to listen to his own employees. Like Kathleen, from my home state, a newly-hired employee at the Department of Agriculture who was so excited about her new job, but now she is no longer getting paid. She wrote a letter to me:
“My funds are exhausted,” she says, “At this point in time, I don’t have the money to pay for my mortgage or for childcare for my daughter.”
She goes on to ask the question no parent should have to ask: “Do I risk losing my home or do I risk having my daughter lose her daycare and then be unable to go to work when I’m recalled?”
She finishes by saying, “This may be a story you have heard before, but I felt it needs to be shared until it is heard by the right ears.”
Kathleen, today, a whole lot of people are hearing your story.
Thanks to our workers and businesses – we have reached a moment in our country where we should be governing from opportunity, and not chaos. We should be working together to pass major legislation to bring down prescription drug prices and health care costs for Americans, to make it easier to afford college and child care, to create incentives for clean green energy, to pass immigration reform, to train workers for the jobs we have today and could have tomorrow.
But what is happening instead? The President’s own economic advisor has estimated that this shutdown will cost the American economy billions of dollars every week. That’s billions of dollars.
With this shutdown, the Administration is not creating opportunity, it is fomenting chaos. Instead of lifting the economic burden of health care and family expenses off the shoulders of our citizens, the Administration has chosen to place the costs of its chaos firmly on the backs of the hard-working people of America: forcing them into lines in airports, reducing help for our farmers and rural areas, closing the gates to our parks and the doors to our small businesses.
As one furloughed FDA employee told a newspaper after visiting a food shelf for the first time just to feed herself and her five children: “President Trump’s talking about a crisis on the border, but we have a crisis right here.”
I ask the President and my Republican colleagues to listen to those words, the words of an ordinary American, who like so many others, does extraordinary work for us every day. These are people working on the front lines without pay to keep us safe from terror, guard our coasts, investigate and prosecute those that do us harm, and keep our food safe and our life-saving cures moving forward.
I ask my fellow citizens to make their views clear and to tell this President and my Republican colleagues to stop the self-inflicted manufactured crisis and enact one of the many bills Congress has passed on a bipartisan basis to end this shutdown. I ask Leader McConnell to take up the House-passed bills in the Senate and send them to the President’s desk.
Why? Because in this week of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we remember the words of Dr. King: “the time is always right to do what is right.”
Now is the time to do what is right, Mr. President. End this shutdown and put hard-working Americans back to work.