Schumer Floor Remarks On The Trump Shutdown’s Devastating Impact on the U.S. Economy

January 28, 2019
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor urging President Trump to expedite the paychecks of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and avoid another partial government shutdown, after a report from the Congressional Budget Office concluded the Trump Shutdown cost our economy billions of dollars.  Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Mr. President, as the dust settles from the longest shutdown in American history, we have work to do to get our country back on track.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers who endured a month without compensation need to get their paychecks and back pay as soon as possible. So I’ve written a letter to President Trump urging him to expedite the delivery of those paychecks.
At the same time, we must be mindful of the hardships that persist for federal contractors, who may not receive the back pay they’ve missed and who may have lost health insurance during the shutdown. We need to find a solution as well for those contractors. Senator Smith from Minnesota is working on that and I hope we can do something to help them – it’s no fault of their own that they lost pay.
But there are some costs to the Trump Shutdown that cannot be recouped. The CBO today released a report about the lasting damage the Trump Shutdown has done to the American economy.
According to CBO, the five-week shutdown cost the U.S. economy $11 billion overall, including $3 billion in economic activity that can never be recovered. Let me repeat that: the Trump Shutdown cost the U.S. economy 11 billion dollars. What a devastating and pointless exercise this has been. If President Trump didn’t appreciate the error of his ways already, the CBO ought to set him straight: no more shutdowns. They accomplish nothing; they only inflict pain and suffering on the country: our citizens, our economy, and our national security.
That’s a lesson we must all keep in mind. The continuing resolution we passed on Friday only runs until February 15th. In three weeks, we must pass additional appropriations to avoid another shutdown. Let the CBO report be a dire warning to President Trump and my Republican colleagues in the Senate against shutting down the government again.
Now, in these next three weeks, House and Senate appropriators named to the conference committee on Department of Homeland Security will endeavor to strike a bipartisan deal on border security. The good news is, we begin this process with plenty of common ground. Democrats and Republicans alike agree on the need for stronger border security. Though Democrats sharply disagree with the president on the need for an expensive and ineffective border wall, we agree on the need to strengthen our ports of entry, as well as the need to provide more drug inspection technology and humanitarian assistance. Since so many of the drugs come through the ports of entry, a wall will do no good at all. But strengthening those ports of entry is vital.
And because we’ve set this up as a conference, Democratic and Republican leadership, House and Senate, will be involved, as well as the appropriators from those committees. Everyone – everyone – has skin in the game.
So in the next three weeks, the goal of the committee should be to find the areas where we agree and work on them together. In the past, when the president has stayed out of it, when the president has given Congress room, we’ve been repeatedly able to forge bipartisan agreements, including two budget agreements, the Russia sanctions. When the president injects maximalist, partisan demands into the process, negotiations tend to fall apart. The president should allow the conference committee to proceed with good faith negotiations. I genuinely hope it will produce something that’s good for the country and acceptable to both sides.