LIMA — As the government shutdown rounds the corner on week three, the region’s congressional leaders have all reacted in widely different ways. Here’s a quick recap.
Sen. Rob Portman
Sen. Portman has long been against government shutdowns and has been active working to make the practice illegal. This past Friday, Portman, along with eight other Republican senators introduced the End Government Shutdowns Act “ensuring that essential government services aren’t disrupted and protecting taxpayers who must bear the resulting cost.”
Ultimately, the act would eliminate fights over budgets from impacting political fights by extending existing budgets when an impasse is reached.
“I’ve offered this legislation to every Congress for the past several. I haven’t had much luck because appropriators in the Congress don’t particularly like it because it takes away some of their discretion,” Portman said during a televised interview on CNBC.
Portman also introduced legislation Friday that would give concessions to both sides of the aisle by setting aside $25 billion to enhance border security over five years while codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
“A fair and reasonable solution will put in place stronger border security measures consistent with the president’s request while also codifying the protections for the DACA population,” Portman stated in a press release. “Those in the DACA program are here through no fault of their own, and for many, this is the only country they know.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown
While Brown’s name has been floated to take on Trump in the 2020 presidential election, he’s been outspoken in calling attention to the 800,000 federal workers whose paychecks have been affected by what is now the longest government shutdown in history.
“This government shutdown is the latest example of how President Donald Trump has overlooked, ignored and betrayed American workers,” Brown said in a recent op-ed. “Nearly 800,000 federal employees are going without a paycheck. President Trump said his shutdown has a ‘higher purpose than next week’s pay.’ Tell that to the Transportation Security Administration agents I met in Cleveland, with children to feed and rent coming due.”
Brown also categorized the shutdown as the “president’s temper tantrum” and alleged the lowest-wage workers affected by the shutdown “are invisible to this president.”
As for legislative actions, Brown introduced the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act on Thursday with a group of his Democratic colleagues that would protect federal employees from being evicted or foreclosed if they can’t afford payments due to the shutdown. He also urged Trump’s administration Thursday to pay low- and middle-income contract employees for wages lost.
Rep. Jim Jordan
Less than a month ago, Jordan predicted no government shutdown during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
Today, he continues to be aligned with Trump, mirroring his talking points, pushing for the construction of a wall on the southern border and blaming Democrats for being “more focused on stopping the President than helping this country.”
Jordan has consistently called for a border wall after Trump’s election, and he made wall funding one of the central platforms of his November campaign and subsequent run for a House leadership position.
“The American people don’t trust Washington to do the right thing on immigration. They trust one individual, and that’s the president because he was elected on this issue, made it a central part of his campaign. I would argue that’s why he got the nomination and certainly one of the reasons he became president of the United States,” Jordan said in an early 2018 interview with The Lima News.
Rep. Bob Latta
Compared to other regional representatives, Latta has been relatively mum on the government shutdown. However, like many of his Ohio colleagues, including Portman and Brown, Latta has agreed to withhold his pay during the length of the shutdown.
“It shouldn’t take individual action to stop member pay,” Latta tweeted on Wednesday. “The default should be that reps and senators are not paid while the government is closed.”
Latta also joined other members of Congress to ensure such is the case by supporting a constitutional amendment that would make the practice into law.
As for legislative action, Latta voted against Democrat-supported legislation passed by the House that would have ended the government shutdown on Jan. 3.
“While we all want an end to this partial government shutdown, the funding bills put on the floor by House Democrats don’t include the resources we need to secure our southern border,” Latta said in a press release. “I have already supported legislation to fund the government and secure our border, but it was opposed by every Democrat in the Senate. With President Trump holding the pen, we’re going nowhere until Democratic leadership is willing to come to the table and negotiate.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.