Pallone, Watson Coleman and Federal Employees Call on Trump to End the Shutdown
Washington, D.C. – Today in Metuchen, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch, NJ Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson, federal employees and public officials called on President Trump and Congressional Republicans to end their shutdown of much of the Federal government. Pallone and House Democrats have voted to reopen the government numerous times, but the government remains closed over Trump’s insistence on a wasteful and unnecessary border wall. Furloughed federal workers also shared their stories at the event. You can find video of the event here.
The borough of Metuchen has created a program to help furloughed workers during this difficult time. Residents impacted by Trump’s shutdown are being urged to visit Metuchen’s "It Takes A Borough" website to find businesses, individuals and other resources that can help during this time. The website offers two forms — one for government employees, who may be in need of resources, and one for service providers and businesses, who are willing to offer discounts and services to impacted families. The borough also kicked off a food drive to aid those in need.
“Thousands of dedicated public servants right here in New Jersey work every day to keep us safe and our economy moving,” said Pallone. “Now because of President Trump’s extreme policies and vanity, these federal employees have been furloughed or forced to work without pay. We can debate the future of our immigration system without shutting down the government, hurting public workers and endangering the livelihoods of New Jersey’s citizens. House Democrats have voted repeatedly to reopen the government and it is time that President Trump finally takes action to put our dedicated public servants back to work.”
“This tantrum that Trump has carried on for 28 days now isn’t about negotiating for border security — which Democrats have offered over and over — nor is it about an immigration crisis,” said Watson Coleman. “This is about Trump not getting his way, and federal employees, contractors and the various industries that support them are being pummeled in the process. Weeks without a paycheck has kept them from putting food on the table, paying rent, paying credit card and hospital bills, buying medications, supporting themselves and their families. These are public servants that want to work. Democrats want to see them back at work. All that’s needed is for Trump to stop holding them hostage and work with us to reopen government.”
“In the absence of federal support, it is incumbent on local officials to support their residents in every way possible,” said Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch. “In Metuchen, we established the ‘It Takes a Borough’ initiative, which is intended to identify and support our federal employee residents during these difficult and uncertain times.”
“With the hard work of state and county employees, the Murphy Administration was able to get February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance benefits distributed early, which we had to do before federal funding runs out. This is significantly ahead of when families expect and plan for these benefits, which means families will have to budget carefully for February, and we have no guarantee benefits will be available for March,” said New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “Families depend on these vital supports, and the longer the federal shutdown goes on the more pain it causes. The Trump Administration must end this shutdown now, pay hardworking federal employees, and restore the benefits and services New Jersey families need.”
More than 5,000 New Jersey federal workers are furloughed or are working without pay because of the shutdown. Nationally, 800,000 federal workers have missed, on average, $5,000 in pay so far due to the shutdown. That's over $200 million total per workday.
As result of the shutdown, thousands of New Jersey families and their benefits, from important programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are at risk. Additionally, agencies and programs designed to keep us safe, such as the FDA’s food inspections, have been severely limited because of the shutdown. Additionally, agencies and programs designed to keep us safe, such as the FDA’s food inspection program, have been severely limited because of the shutdown.