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Schatz Calls On Congress To Pass Bipartisan Short-Term Spending Bill To Keep The Government Open

Schatz: “No One Wins In A Shutdown”

WASHINGTON – Just two days away from the deadline to fund the federal government, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today called on colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass the Senate’s bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open and avert a disastrous shutdown.

“No one wins in a shutdown,” said Senator Schatz. “Not Republicans, not Democrats, and certainly not the people of Hawai‘i and Americans across the country. Anyone that’s serious about governing knows the only way to avert a shutdown this weekend is through bipartisanship. This bill is a compromise – no one will get everything they want. But it is the only viable path to keeping the government open as we work on passing appropriations bills for the full year. It’s really that simple.”

Schatz highlighted the wide-ranging harms shutdowns inflict on people across the country – including forcing millions of federal employees to work without pay and stripping away vital assistance programs for children and families most in need. He also underscored the importance of the disaster relied funding included in the CR which is critical for communities on Maui and in other states nationwide that are recovering from devastating disasters.

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The full text of the speech as delivered is below and video is available here.

Mr. President. No one wins in a shutdown. Not Republicans, not Democrats, certainly not the people of Hawai‘i or Americans across the country. I've been here for three previous shutdowns, in the majority and in the minority, and I've seen the same thing over and over again: shutdowns don't work. The government eventually reopens and neither side has accomplished a single thing.

No one wins, but Americans have a lot to lose.

Millions of federal workers, including military personnel, will be forced to work without pay. Children most in need will lose access to food and early education programs. Tens of millions of people can't get care at community health centers. The food that we eat will go uninspected. Relief for disaster-stricken communities will grind to a halt. Loans for small businesses will not get processed. Seniors will have to wait to get new Medicare cards. Travelers will face the risks of more delays.

We have the ability and the responsibility to prevent all of this unnecessary pain and disruption. Which is why Tuesday and today, the Senate has a solution. The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance a bipartisan bill that will keep the government open.

And look, this is not The Civil Rights Act. This is not that big of a legislative accomplishment. It's a 47-day stopgap measure to prevent a really ridiculous, terrible thing from happening. But we do need to pass it. Anyone that is serious about governing knows that the only way to prevent a shutdown is through bipartisanship. And let me just repeat that: the only way to prevent a shutdown is through bipartisanship.

This bill is a compromise. No one will get what they really wanted, but it is the only viable path to keeping the government open as we work on passing appropriations bills in the regular order for the full year. It's really that simple.

I just want to point out one thing about shutdowns. We don't have to do this to ourselves. Shutdowns are a uniquely American tactic. We're not more prone to polarization or partisanship than other governments across the world. But you look around the planet and you won't find other legislatures pulling the plug on the government itself and the critical services that people need because they couldn't resolve a policy dispute. It just doesn't happen because it's that ridiculous. It's that insane. It's that counterproductive.

Only we do this to ourselves. But here, some House Republicans are openly inviting a shutdown that we know will exact pain on millions of American families. Representative Norman has said, “We're going to have a shutdown. It's just a matter of how long.” Representative Rosendale agreed: “I will not vote for a C.R. It doesn't matter what you attach to it.” What a weird thing to say. It doesn't matter what you attach to it. ‘It doesn't matter what you attach to it. I'm for a shutdown.’

And this from Representative Bob Good sums up their warped view: “We shouldn't fear a government shutdown.” Well, maybe a member of Congress is not afraid of a government shutdown. But all of the people who work for the federal government and all of the people who rely on federal services do fear a government shutdown.

One of their Republican colleagues agrees with me. “This is not conservative Republicanism. This is stupidity...These people can't define a win.” And that's the problem. The only thing these people know is that they want to shut the government down. They haven't even articulated their policy demands. And we're 48 hours out. So we need to act like grownups and do our jobs.

And I just want to be clear. We are acting like grownups and doing our job. This is not a criticism of the United States Senate. So far, so good. And listen, even though it's 48 hours, we've got a long way to go. We've got a lot of negotiating to do. We've got a lot of bumps in the road. As I like to say, it will get worse before it gets better. So I'm not suggesting we're done here, but I am suggesting that we're behaving like grownups.

For the people of Maui, and those in so many other communities across the country that have had the misfortune of being struck by disasters, this bill provides funding that will allow recovery work to continue uninterrupted. The ongoing recovery effort on Maui alone will require enormous federal resources, in addition to what's needed in dozens of other states that have been slammed by hurricanes, floods and other extreme weather. And while this funding by itself won't ever be enough to cover everything in each one of these communities, it is an important down payment.

Whatever our disagreements or our personal politics, we can all agree: no one wins in a shutdown. We've lived through this before and know how this ends. There is an alternative. We can continue what we started earlier this week and just did right now on the floor: pass this bill with bipartisan support and keep the government open. Let's get it done.