Stop the federal government shutdown rally
Stop the Shutdown rally in Hart Senate Office Building, 1/23/19.

For weeks, he vowed that he was­n’t going to cave.

But with the costs of the par­tial fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down that he man­u­fac­tured mount­ing, and with Democ­rats hold­ing firm, Don­ald Trump today capit­u­lat­ed, agree­ing to tem­porar­i­ly reopen the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment with­out an autho­riza­tion from Con­gress to spend $5.7 bil­lion con­struct­ing a wall on the bor­der with Mex­i­co. Trump announced his capit­u­la­tion in a speech in the Rose Garden.

The agree­ment “reopens the gov­ern­ment with­out any pre­con­di­tions and gives Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss bor­der secu­ri­ty with­out hold­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­can work­ers hostage,” Sen­a­tor Chuck Schumer of New York, the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic leader, said.

How­ev­er, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would only be reopened on a short term basis, with anoth­er par­tial shut­down pos­si­ble in just twen­ty-one days. The cur­rent shut­down, the longest on record, has gone on for longer than three weeks.

“This reck­less shut­down should have nev­er hap­pened,” said Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in a state­ment. “It was irre­spon­si­ble, dam­ag­ing to our econ­o­my and need­less­ly harm­ful to work­ing fam­i­lies in every cor­ner of our country.”

“We all know the shut­down was nev­er about bor­der security.”

“There is sim­ply no excuse for shut­ting down the gov­ern­ment, inflict­ing pain on 800,000 pub­lic ser­vants and threat­en­ing basic ser­vices for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans to ful­fill a bro­ken cam­paign promise. Reopen­ing the gov­ern­ment tem­porar­i­ly is an impor­tant first step, but we can­not allow this to hap­pen again in three weeks. Coast Guard per­son­nel, TSA agents, food inspec­tors, air traf­fic con­trollers and oth­er fed­er­al work­ers need long-term secu­ri­ty to do their jobs and keep the pub­lic safe.”

“Shut­downs are not a nego­ti­at­ing tac­tic — peri­od. Fed­er­al work­ers and their fam­i­lies should nev­er be held hostage to the president’s whims.”

“I am so glad that Pres­i­dent Trump and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans final­ly lis­tened to work­ers and peo­ple across the coun­try and agreed to reopen the gov­ern­ment and end this absolute­ly unnec­es­sary shut­down,” said U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray.

“I want to thank the work­ers, Coast Guard ser­vice mem­bers, and their fam­i­lies in Wash­ing­ton state and across the coun­try for their ser­vice and sac­ri­fices over this hard month. We can breathe a sigh of relief today, and then we need to get to work to clean up the mess that Pres­i­dent Trump cre­at­ed for absolute­ly no rea­son and do every­thing we can to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen again in a few short weeks.”

“This thir­ty-five day shut­down has caused tremen­dous dam­age in Wash­ing­ton state and across the coun­try — uncer­tain­ty for work­ers and fam­i­lies, unpaid bills, eco­nom­ic toll on com­mu­ni­ties, ser­vices jeop­ar­dized or put on hold, back­logs and delays at air­ports and crit­i­cal fed­er­al agen­cies, trash pil­ing up at our nation­al parks, and so much more,” Sen­a­tor Mur­ray added.

“The lev­el of chaos and dys­func­tion the Amer­i­can peo­ple were forced to deal with over the past month was tru­ly appalling and has absolute­ly no place in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. I am hop­ing that Pres­i­dent Trump and his Repub­li­can allies have learned a les­son from this and will choose to work with Democ­rats in good faith instead of play­ing more polit­i­cal games or try­ing to gov­ern by tantrum.”

“Democ­rats have made it clear that we don’t sup­port using Amer­i­can tax­pay­er dol­lars to pay for the waste­ful wall that Pres­i­dent Trump promised Mex­i­co would pay for, but we’ve also made it clear that we are of course will­ing to con­tin­ue work­ing with Repub­li­cans on respon­si­ble bor­der secu­ri­ty once the shut­down ends.”

“I encour­age any­one who was hurt and frus­trat­ed by this shut­down to keep the pres­sure on Trump and his Repub­li­can allies to not go down this path again. And I strong­ly urge Pres­i­dent Trump to work with us on actu­al solu­tions and to set aside his threats to abuse his pow­er and cir­cum­vent Con­gress if he doesn’t get his way.”

“Final­ly, after thir­ty-five days, the Pres­i­dent has agreed to do what he should have done in the first place: open the gov­ern­ment,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith, the Chair of the House Armed Ser­vices Committee.

“The impacts of the gov­ern­ment shut­down on fed­er­al work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try have been immense.”

“This is a man­u­fac­tured cri­sis, engi­neered by Pres­i­dent Trump, that has harmed hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans. While not sur­pris­ing, the tone-deaf remarks recent­ly uttered by this Pres­i­dent and senior mem­bers of his Admin­is­tra­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly Sec­re­tary Ross, show just how out of touch with real­i­ty they are about the dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous posi­tion which the shut­down has put families.”

“We know the Pres­i­dent man­u­fac­tured this cri­sis because in his Fis­cal Year 2019 Bud­get Request, sub­mit­ted last Feb­ru­ary, Trump request­ed only $ 1.6 bil­lion dol­lars for a bor­der wall. In fact, the House and Sen­ate gave the Pres­i­dent the amount that he request­ed. How­ev­er, that all changed when Democ­rats won the House in Novem­ber. Now the Pres­i­dent is arbi­trar­i­ly demand­ing bil­lions of dol­lars more for his wall and has been hold­ing fed­er­al work­ers hostage over it.

“If the Pres­i­dent believes there has been a change in our bor­der secu­ri­ty needs that war­rants a wall, then he should artic­u­late those rea­sons to Con­gress based on facts. Time and again, Pres­i­dent Trump has lied and mis­char­ac­ter­ized the actu­al sit­u­a­tion to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, claim­ing a ‘cri­sis’ at the bor­der and that the ‘worst of the worst’ are pour­ing into the Unit­ed States.”

“These claims are demon­stra­bly false and made only to jus­ti­fy harm­ful poli­cies meant to appease his base. If addi­tion­al bor­der secu­ri­ty is so des­per­ate­ly need­ed, as Trump claims, then why is he propos­ing a bor­der wall that experts, includ­ing Cus­toms and Bor­der Patrol offi­cials, have deter­mined is not an effec­tive bor­der secu­ri­ty strategy?”

“Even though Pres­i­dent Trump has more recent­ly demand­ed $5.7 bil­lion dol­lars to fund 235 miles of bor­der wall, it con­tin­ues to be clear that he doesn’t actu­al­ly have a sol­id plan for where it would be built. The Admin­is­tra­tion has pro­vid­ed no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for why the arbi­trary $5.7 bil­lion is the amount need­ed now.”

“Fur­ther­more, and more fun­da­men­tal to the prob­lem, is that no sub­stan­tial case has been made for why a wall is needed.”

“From the begin­ning, Pres­i­dent Trump’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for a bor­der wall was not root­ed in a need for bor­der secu­ri­ty, but in the mis­guid­ed notion that immi­grants are some­how inher­ent threats to Amer­i­can society.

“This racist and xeno­pho­bic view has been the basis for Trump’s entire immi­gra­tion agen­da and could not be fur­ther from the truth. Our pol­i­cy and leg­isla­tive process does not work by hold­ing the gov­ern­ment hostage, and I hope the Pres­i­dent has learned that doing so is unpro­duc­tive and harmful.”

“I con­tin­ue to believe that spend­ing bil­lions on a bor­der wall with no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, espe­cial­ly in the wake of the Repub­li­can tax give­away to the wealthy, is deeply irre­spon­si­ble, espe­cial­ly as we have so many oth­er wor­thy nation­al pri­or­i­ties, includ­ing pro­vid­ing health care, improv­ing edu­ca­tion, and fix­ing crum­bling infrastructure.”

“I applaud the non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, busi­ness­es, and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who have stepped up to help alle­vi­ate the pains of the shut­down. My office and I will con­tin­ue to do what­ev­er we can to ensure work­ers are giv­en the pay and ben­e­fits to which they are enti­tled and pre­vent unnec­es­sary future shutdowns.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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