(BIVN) – Talks are progressing in the Senate, but no deal was reached on Sunday, meaning Monday will begin with hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furlough.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) – who says she will donate pay she receives during the government shutdown to Hawaii’s 14 Federally Qualified Community Health Centers – took to the Senate floor to urge colleagues to end the federal government shutdown and “come to an agreement on a long-term budget deal that reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, funds Community Health Centers, protects DREAMers, and provides parity for defense and domestic programs.”
“I support passing a very short-term funding bill – somewhere between one and three days – to sustain the urgency getting this done in as short a time as possible,” Hirono said in her speech. “So a multi-week extension of government funding that allows the President, the Majority Leader, and the Speaker to kick the can down the road and pit one group against another is not the way to go.”
“When the Democrat filibuster of the government funding bill ends,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the floor, “the serious, bipartisan negotiations that have been going on for months now to resolve our unfinished business—military spending; disaster relief; healthcare; immigration and border security—will continue. It would be my intention to resolve these issues as quickly as possible so that we can move on to other business that is important to our country.”
Some effects of the federal shutdown are alredy being felt on Hawaii Island, as Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park shut its gates on Saturday morning. But when Monday begins, the federal workers who would have returned to work after the weekend will be on furlough.
“Nobody wins during a government shutdown,” wrote Hawaii’s other U.S. Senator, Brian Schatz, on Facebook. Sen. Schatz also spoke from the floor of the Senate today. “Across the country, people are starting to feel the impacts of the government shutdown. That’s unacceptable and unnecessary. Every member of the United States Senate should (be) working together to pass a short-term bill, also known as a CR, to keep the government open for a few days. That way, we can negotiate and find a bipartisan compromise without punishing the whole country.”
“This is Donald Trump’s shutdown,” Sen. Hirono said. “It’s important to understand who is responsible for this shutdown, but it’s more important to end it. It’s time for Congress to lead.”
“The shutdown should stop today,” Majority Leader McConnell said. “And we’ll soon have a vote that will allow us to do that. Let’s step back from the brink. Let’s stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.”