Shutdown ends, politicos react

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The government shutdown has ended, at least for the next three weeks. President Trump and congressional leaders agreed on a measure that will keep the government running until Feb. 15 while negotiations over border security continue.

“It looks like we have a deal to end this pointless shutdown that has harmed so many Americans. Let’s make sure this never happens again,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who earlier this week introduced legislation that would prevent future shutdowns.

Connolly: “Incomprehensible”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, called it “unconscionable” that Trump would hold federal worker hostage.

“It is incomprehensible that it took President Trump 35 days to finally realize his Shutdown is so harmful to the American people. While I am pleased he has agreed to reopen government and get federal employees and contractors back to work, it is still unconscionable that he would hold them hostage in the first place. He must never do this again,” Connolly said in an email.

Beyer: 35 days of deprivation

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said he was grateful the shutdown would end soon but said he doesn’t understand why it happened.

“If I understood him correctly, President Trump just agreed to the same deal which Speaker Pelosi offered him in December. Had he done so, the President would have spared the country the longest shutdown in its history. Why did President Trump inflict this shutdown on the country?” asked Beyer, who claims to represent more federal employees than any other House member. 

 “He could have spared 800,000 federal employees the suffering caused by missed paychecks, rent payments, medical procedures, and every other deprivation that came with 35 days of no pay. He could have spared the country the scenes of its public sector workers waiting in lines for food banks, airports shut down and tax returns jeopardized, national parks closed, and so many other essential services halted.

“This shutdown accomplished nothing. It inflicted extreme pain on the people I represent, and there was no reason for it. As the President approaches the new deadline he just agreed to for the expiration of government funding, he must think of people besides himself. This must never happen again,” Beyer said.

Wexton: “Accomplished nothing”

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) said the shutdown was a “debacle” that “accomplished nothing.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans will never recover from Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s petty power play,” Wexton said. “They should apologize for all suffering they inflicted on federal workers, contractors, and everyone who was impacted by their senseless shutdown. This debacle accomplished nothing other than to lower our nation’s standing in the world and attack our already overburdened federal workforce.”

“I’m relieved that my constituents will finally get paid and back to work serving and protecting our country. Using shutdowns as leverage in policy negotiations never works, and I hope this President now recognizes that he must never do it again,” she said.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.