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What federal employees told me:

On Friday, I met with a group of federal employees and listened to their experiences of how the #Trumpshutdown has negatively impacted their lives.

Many were forced to make difficult decisions to spend from their savings, visit food pantries, and take second jobs. Yet they showed up every day for our country and kept our skies safe, protected our coasts and community members, watched over our public lands, and continued to perform their jobs. Government may be reopened for three weeks, but federal workers are being held hostage by the looming threat of yet another shutdown. These shutdowns put significant strain on critical parts of our real national security, like the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Coast Guard personnel who weren't being paid.

These shutdowns are wrong, damaging to our economy, and do nothing to solve the issues we face as a nation.

The president says that building the wall is about reducing the illegal drug trade; however, in the recent trial of drug lord El Chapo Guzman, it came out that the cartel's preferred way to smuggle drugs is through semi trucks that come across our legal border crossings. If the president wants to make real investments in border security, we should be increasing personnel and technology to search more vehicles at our legal ports of entry. We also need to invest in our Coast Guard, which intercepts more drugs than all of the other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Despite this, they only have resources to pursue 20% – one in five – of the drug targets identified by intelligence. We need real security investments and should be directing our taxpayer dollars in an intelligent, strategic manner to address the issues at our southern border.

Congress has a lot of work to do over the next three weeks so our country can move forward; I implore the president to take federal workers out of his political bargaining. Stop treating them like pawns in this political fight! It's time for a provision declaring that should Congress and the president not agree on a budget, federal operations will continue at the existing level until a bargain is reached. Our country must be able to remain open, safe, and functional, even at times of partisan gridlock in Washington D.C.


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Posted on January 29, 2019.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

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