Alexander: “The Shutdown is Wrong and I Have A Solution”

Posted on January 12, 2019

Memphis, Tenn., January 11, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said yesterday in Memphis that federal government shutdowns are always wrong and offered a solution for reopening the federal government.

“A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. The best thing to do would be for the Senate to take President Trump’s $7 billion request for additional funding for border security and ways to address the humanitarian crisis, reopen the federal government, hold a hearing on it next week, and take three weeks to consider the request. Today, we have 654 miles of border wall along the nearly 2,000 miles of the southern border. Why is President Trump the only president not allowed to build more wall? He has made a specific, formal request for funding. Our job is to consider it, hold a hearing, and while we’re doing that we should reopen the government,” Alexander said.

“If the president and the Congress would do what I suggest, which is to hold a hearing next week and consider the President’s request for additional funding for border security and ways to address the humanitarian crisis, we could reopen the government over the weekend, take three weeks to work this out, and get on with our jobs.”

Alexander also cosponsored the Pay Excepted Personnel Act — legislation offered by Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) — to ensure the over 400,000 federal employees who are required to work during the shutdown can receive their paycheck.

“It’s wrong for federal employees to work and not get a paycheck. I want them to know that I’m doing everything I can to reopen the government. A government shutdown should be as off limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to war. In the meantime, this legislation will allow federal agencies that are impacted by the government shutdown to pay federal employees who continue to work,” Alexander concluded. 

The Pay Excepted Personnel Act:

·        Authorizes federal agencies that are impacted by the government shutdown to pay federal employees who continue to work.

·        The bill would provide pay to federal employees who are working during the shutdown. These employees perform emergency work, or perform work involving the safety of human life or protection of property.

·        The bill would provide pay to the over 400,000 employees who are currently working from shutdown agencies and departments including Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, Forest Service, National Parks Service, and Securities Exchange Commission.