Rep. Gabbard Votes to Reopen Government
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted to pass a bipartisan package on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, that would immediately reopen the government and pay federal employees. The package is based on legislation previously negotiated between House and Senate Republicans and Democrats prior to the government shutdown and includes $1.6 billion for key border security initiatives. The legislation passed by a vote of 234-180.
“For 33 days, the federal government has failed its citizens,” Rep. Gabbard said. “Over 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are working without pay. I heard from one federal employee who held a garage sale last weekend, selling as much as she could, so she could raise money to pay her rent. Another who serves in the Army Reserves told me that if the government doesn’t open by February, he’d be forced to volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan, to make sure he’d get a paycheck to care for his wife and kids. This shutdown is causing irreparable consequences for the futures of our people and our country. Using the American people as pawns in a partisan game must stop. The shutdown must end now.”
Background: H.R. 648 includes provisions related to:
- Border Security: Includes $1.6 billion for border security related measures including accelerating the recruitment and hiring of additional immigration judges to address the backlog in processing immigration cases; improvements in ports of entry to meet the latest security requirements, improve border security, and increase capacity for vehicular traffic; and assistance to Central America, a critical investment in improving the lives of those living in Central American countries
- Agricultural Research: Includes $31.16 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service: Includes $819 million for conservation operations to help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land
- Farm Service Agency (FSA): Includes $1.71 billion for business operations and for FSA’s farm, conservation and emergency loan programs that benefit farmers and rural communities
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS): Includes $1.049 billion for FSIS
- Rural Development: Includes $3.64 billion for Rural Development, including $625 million in funding dedicated for infrastructure investments in Rural America
- Food and Nutrition Programs: Includes fully funding SNAP through 2019, $6.075 billion in discretionary funding for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); $23.141 billion in mandatory funding for child nutrition programs; and $1.716 billion for the Food for Peace program and $210.255 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program
- Office of National Drug Control Policy: Includes $417 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and the Drug-Free Communities programs
- Department of the Interior: Includes $3.22 billion for the National Park Service; $1.58 billion for the
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; $1.31 billion for the Bureau of Land Management; and $3.08 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education
- Environmental Protection Agency: Includes $8.8 billion for the EPA, which
- Indian Health Service: Includes $5.8 billion for the Indian Health Service
- President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR): Includes $5.7 billion for PEPFAR for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
- Department of Transportation: Includes $900 million for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER or BUILD); $17.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); and $49.3 billion for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), facilitating highway and bridge rehabilitation and construction and railway crossing improvements
- New Housing and Public Infrastructure: Includes $31 billion for Public and Indian Housing, including Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Section 8) which is adequate to renew all existing housing vouchers; $7.7 billion for Community Planning and Development; and $12.7 billion for Housing Programs
Rep. Gabbard has voted numerous times to re-open the federal government since this shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018. She has announced that she will donate her salary during the government shutdown to U.S. Vets, a private non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to veterans in Hawai‘i and across the country, including housing and employment assistance, counseling, veterans benefits and treatment for mental and physical health problems and substance abuse, and more.
Last week, the congresswoman spoke on the House floor, calling for an end to the government shutdown. She also rallied and marched from the AFL-CIO headquarters to the White House in solidarity with federal employees from dozens of unions, who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay.