Kilili: US workers are not political pawns

Posted on Feb 06 2019

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) has scored President Donald Trump for his insistence on building a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. Trump is once again threatening to shut down the government.

The federal government already shut down on Dec. 22 and resumed operations on Jan. 29.

Sablan told Saipan Tribune that Trump’s demand to fund the construction of “a wasteful and ineffective wall” should not be a reason to shut down the operations of the government. “Governments should not shut down over policy disagreements.”

“America’s workers should never be used as political pawns—and [last week], Democrats are proud to bring legislation to the floor to give the entire federal civilian workforce a pay raise, providing relief after years of GOP political attacks, pay freezes, and shutdowns.”

He said that Trump seemed to have not learned his lesson as he threatens to shut down the government again, subjecting federal government workers to another uncertain future. Trump, in a Sunday USA Today report, said he is ready to declare a national emergency if the 15-member bipartisan committee fails to include funding for his planned border wall.

A national emergency declaration would allow the president to divert billions of dollars in U.S. military construction funds for his border wall, a key campaign promise that he made where he also stated that Mexico would pay for.

Sablan said that even before the government resumed operations, Trump already threatened another “senseless” shutdown. On Jan. 27, two days before the shutdown ended, Trump said shutting down the government again is “certainly an option” if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall.

“[It] tells about what the president is thinking even before the 15 conferees start their task of finding agreement to complete the sole remaining piece of the 12 annual appropriations package. The [U.S. Department of Homeland Security] appropriation bill is the contentious and outstanding piece of 12 federal government annual appropriation package,” said Sablan.

“The Democrats’ unity on behalf of America’s workers was critical–working every week to pass bills to re-open the government and pressure the GOP Senate and the White House to act. And the bill [Trump] signed into law to re-open the government was essentially the same bill the House passed before the government shutdown; the bill written by the Republican majority of the 115th Congress.”

He added that Trump shutting down the government put the lives of the American people in chaos and inflicted them pain, including federal workers and families in the CNMI, which missed two paychecks. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has also released a report that the shutdown cost the U.S. economy an estimated $11 billion, with $3 billion permanently lost.

“For 35 days, the President held hundreds of thousands of workers’ paychecks and countless families’ financial security, health and wellbeing hostage—forcing workers to miss their bills, communities to lose access to critical services for their health and safety, and America’s economy and national security to be harmed, all over the president’s demands for an ineffective, wasteful border wall,” he said.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.
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