Chairwoman Lowey Floor Statement on H.J. Res. 31, Continuing Resolution For Homeland Security Through February 28
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.J. Res. 31, a Continuing Resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through February 28 and ensure that Homeland Security employees receive back pay:
The Trump Shutdown is now in its 34th day. Yesterday, the House passed six bills to reopen most of the government. With this bill today, we can reopen the entire government, while providing time to negotiate a full year bill for the Department of Homeland Security.
This continuing resolution would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is open and its public servants, including Secret Service agents, transportation security officers, border patrol and customs officers, and the brave men and women of the Coast Guard, are paid for their hard work.
According to the New York Times, as many as one of every 10 transportation security officers are not coming to work because they simply can’t afford to. As a result, some of our busiest airports are deploying backup and reserve workers. Other airports have closed checkpoints and entire terminals. Notwithstanding the long lines for travelers, this reduction in staffing puts our transportation security workforce on the brink and could risk national security.
Additionally, 41,000 active-duty service members and 2,100 civilians in the Coast Guard are working without pay. No one should have to face the uncertainty of not knowing when they’ll get paid, especially the men and women of our armed forces.
Each week of the Trump Shutdown costs the U.S. economy $1.2 billion. Instead of continuing down this wasteful road, I urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to reopen the government, pay our federal workers, and then consider negotiations on more effective border security.
Make no mistake: Democrats support smart investments in our homeland security, including increased infrastructure investments at our ports of entry, advanced technology to scan for contraband, and new technology for detecting unauthorized crossings. We can work together to meet these needs. But until the government is open, the President’s stubborn actions are hurting hardworking families and putting our security and economy at risk.