President Donald Trump needs to reopen the government and put thousands of Americans back to work, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in his telephone press conference Wednesday.
“President Trump is taking paychecks away from thousands of American workers and throwing families into crisis every day he refuses to reopen the government,” Brown said. “The president must end his shutdown and put Americans back to work.”
Brown’s call for the president to end the shutdown is nothing new, but ramped up his insistence by meeting with Transportation Security Administration workers at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, who are working without pay, food service workers in Arlington, Va., who work in the Smithsonian museums and are furloughed due to the shutdown, and representatives of NASA Glenn Research Center scientists, who are either out of work or working without pay.
Brown said he is co-sponsoring legislation to secure back pay for government contract employees who have gone without pay and won’t be reimbursed for missed paychecks, and he is joining Senate colleagues in a letter calling on the administration to direct federal agencies to ensure government contractors receive the back pay they deserve.
Brown pointed out that the Senate passed a “clean” sending bill before the holidays that Trump said he would support, but then he changed his mind. Since the House passed a similar bill last week, the Republican leadership in the Senate won’t allow a new vote.
“(Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell is making a terrible mistake,” Brown said.
There has been some breaks in the GOP ranks, with Senators calling for an end to the shutdown, but not enough yet to override a presidential veto.
Brown said there is no reason not to reopen the government and then Congress can start to discuss border security issues and immigration reform.
Brown called Trump’s speech Tuesday “typical Trumpian politics.”
“I’m open to enhanced security, and that may mean more choppers, more agents, but nobody but the president thinks a wall is real security,” Brown added.
Brown was joined on the call by Paul Greenberg, a scientist at NASA Glenn and vice president of LESA Local 28, to talk about the harmful effects of the shutdown on both federal workers and federal contractors.
“Because Washington is more interested in playing politics than solving problems, Ohioans like us are either out of work or working without pay. It’s time for our leaders to step up, end this shutdown, and get Ohioans back to work. And once they do, they should take the lead of Sen. Brown and make sure federal workers and federal contractors all are given the back pay, and the respect, they deserve,” said Greenberg.