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VIDEO: ‘We don’t need gimmicks. We need to reopen government,’ Pingree says

Washington, DC, January 11, 2019


This week, the House passed four funding bills backed by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME)—Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation, and Interior—to reopen critical agencies in federal government.

“We don’t need gimmicks. We need to reopen the government,” Pingree said on the House floor this morning in support of Interior Appropriations legislation. “Despite the President’s refusal to do his job, I am proud that we are doing ours in Congress by moving these appropriations bill forward to reopen the government. I urge all my colleagues to support the American taxpayer, support federal workers and their families, and support the vital environmental programs funded in this bill.”
In her speech, she criticized the administration for using gimmicks to allow visitors into National Parks and Refuges without the staff needed to ensure the public’s safety and protect important habitat. 
Yesterday, Pingree spoke in support of Agriculture Appropriations legislation to ensure that SNAP recipients can continue to receive food assistance, end the suspension of rural home mortgages and farmer loans, and allow the FDA to resume routine food safety inspections. 
A member of the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior and Agricuture, Pingree is calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on the House-passed bills and send them to the President’s desk. The Senate had previously voted overwhelmingly (92-6) to pass the four bills. 
Text of Pingree’s Speech As Prepared for Delivery
I consider it a privilege to sit on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, where we fund agencies and departments that are important not only nationwide but especially in my home state of Maine.
So it is particularly heartbreaking to be here today, urging my colleagues to reopen these agencies as we enter our 21st day of an unnecessary government shutdown.   
Today marks the first day that many federal government employees will go without a paycheck. There are over eleven hundred (1100) federal workers and their families in Maine alone. 
These include employees at Maine’s Acadia National Park and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, or the USGS research centers, or the air and water program officers at the EPA.
This shutdown has made life extremely difficult for these workers and their families. And it has halted the critical duties they perform.
This bill funds vital programs that we use everyday to protect our resources, learn about our environment, and connect Americans to our natural treasures.  
So far, the Administration has used accounting gimmicks to give the appearance that these parks and agencies remain open. But you can’t hide the consequences of this shutdown. For example, at our national parks, there have been reports of habitat destruction, deaths and injuries since the beginning of the shutdown.
We don’t need gimmicks. We need to reopen the government. 
Despite the President’s refusal to do his job, I am proud that we are doing ours in Congress by moving these appropriations bill forward to reopen the government. 
I urge all my colleagues to support the American taxpayer, support federal workers and their families, and support the vital environmental programs funded in this bill.
Vote yes on HR 266 and End the Shutdown. 
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