Government Shutdown Trump

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)

Last week, Coast Guard first responders rescued two people in a grounded boat near Hopedale. Now, those first responders’ first paycheck of the year is at risk while the government remains closed.

They aren’t our only public servants facing uncertainty. This Friday, thousands of Louisiana workers end the week with no paycheck, no end in sight, and no plan from Louisiana Republicans in Congress. For over two weeks, we’ve seen the Republicans elected to serve us give sound bites to reporters, tweet, and fundraise at parties.

Louisiana GOP, do your job.

As the government shutdown drags on over two weeks, they refuse to place the needs of struggling Louisianians over their own political ambitions. In the midst of the shutdown, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham left the Capitol to host a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser benefiting himself. For the second time, he voted against opening the government and rejected over $1 billion in border security funding, while forcing our public servants to go without paychecks. Hardworking Louisianians deserve someone who will focus on the job he has — not abandon his responsibilities to pursue another one.

While politicians like Abraham remain static, thousands of Louisianans are hurting. Some 3,200 federal workers in Louisiana are furloughed or working without pay from the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior. These departments are all essential to our state running efficiently, but Homeland Security is critical to our safety. The hypocrisy is astonishing, but not surprising. While our Republican Congressional delegation claim they want to make our country safer, our border agents, TSA agents, and Coast Guard first-responders are working without pay. How can they focus on their job when they’re worried about how to feed their family and pay the rent this month?

Trump urges wall funding to fix border crisis in TV address

There’s already a solution. Last week, the House passed legislation to reopen the government. Join me in asking U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy to push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the spending bill to a vote. These bills mirror legislation the Senate passed with bipartisan support last year and end the uncertainty workers like our brave Coast Guard first-responders are facing.

Republicans aren’t just hurting thousands of Louisiana workers, they’re putting our state and country at risk. It’s time for Louisiana’s Republicans in Congress to focus on the job they have and get the government back open. 

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson

chair, Louisiana Democratic Party

New Orleans