House Speaker Pelosi Senate Minority Leader Schumer News Conference CSPAN January 9, 2019 11:48pm-12:11am EST
life and career through her book "the truths we hold, an american journey." at 11:00 p.m. eastern, oz guinness talks about his latest for liberty."ll then sunday on after words at p.m. eastern, a journalist discusses her book "it was all a dream." generation confronts the broken promise to black america. interviewed by editor-in-chief. watch book tv this weekend on c-span 2. nnouncer: on wednesday, house speaker nancy pelosi and senate inority leader charles schumer held a news conference with the labor union that represents federal workers to talk about of the government shutdown. from the u.s. capitol, this is 20 minutes. speaker pelosi: good morning, everyone. thank you for being here.
standing behind us, in front of us here are the v.i.p.'s, the people who make america work, the working people of our country who are the backbone of our middle class, the backbone of our democracy. and unfortunately we meet during a dark time for america's workers as government is shut down, it's a dark time. last night the president spatted normal lis and misinformation fear instead of facts. the reality is that the president could end the trump shutdown and reopen government today and he should. instead, he's holding the american people hostage to his ineffective expensive wall and withholding paychecks for hardworking americans. to some, he's saying work without a paycheck. to others he's saying just stay home. and all of those cases he's been unfair, not only to the workers, but also to the american people
whose services he's depriving -- he's depriving and also, to our economy. the president's manufactured crisis reaches into the lives of millions of americans. it threatens services and benefits they need to stay healthy and secure. it robs hardworking americans of their paychecks. some we will hear from like steve reed and the 3,200 of national local 4060. the 5,000 workers of afge council 232. eric young and the 3,200 of afge council 33. these numbers are numbers to you but they are people. they are families. they are resources in our community and we'll hear from them and of course we are very, very honored to welcome j. david cox who represents the 700,000 americans of the american federation of government
employees. later today, congressional democrats will go to the white house. we'll have given the president a republican path forward. we have said to them we are willing to accept what the senate republicans have passed overwhelmingly in the senate. take your path forward. take yes for an answer. instead, he's chosen a wall over workers. the president needs to end his senseless shutdown and reopen the government. and a champion in making that distinction for the president, you want to negotiate on the wall, let's proceed in a way that is respectful of our security and respectful of our values. i'm pleased to yield to the distinguished democratic senator in the senate, senator schumer. senator schumer: thank you, leader pelosi. i want to thank everyone here from afge, j. david cox, and the great workers and these are the people this is all about.
these are people it could be a monday, cloudy monday morning, rainy, they have 100 fever, but they go to work because they believe in what they are doing. they know how important it is to the american people. and to use them as hostages through a temper tantrum by the president is just so wrong, so unfair, so mean-spirited. it ought to end and it ought to end now. hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed. hundreds of thousands more are working without pay. in a short time they are going to miss their first paycheck. and when you multiply those federal workers by you their family members, the people they love and care about and who rely on their steady paycheck to survive, you get a better sense of the pain that the president is causing with his shutdown. we've been joined today by men
and women who are really dedicated in our v.a. hospitals and in fema and in e.p.a. and in federal prisons, the people behind me represent the real human collateral damage of president trump's temper tantrum. the president speaks all the time, using this shutdown to make our border secure, but the dark irony is, he's forcing t.s.a. agents, c.b.p. officers and prison guards to work without pay. tell me how that makes america more secure. so the president needs to come to his senses and end this shutdown now. i don't think he persuaded a soul with his talk last night. it was same old same old, mistruths, divisiveness, didn't have the effect he had hoped. speaker pelosi and i are ready to pass legislation already
approved by senate republicans to reopen the government and, while we continue the debate on border security, we all want border security. there are different views on how to get there, but to hold these people hostage instead of just letting them do their jobs, which they want to do while we work our differences, so wrong. why should we ask t.s.a. officers to go without their hard-earned pay while they protect our airports? why should we ask food safety inspectors to go without their hard-earned pay while they ensure the food we eat is safe? why should we ask prison guards why should we ask prison guards to go without their hard-earned pay while they keep the public safe? it makes no sense. none of these things have anything to do with a $5 billion request to fund "the wall," which you, of course, mexico is
still not paying for despite what the president said last night. the house passed legislation to reopen the government. it's time for president trump, our republican colleagues in the senate to accept it. my message to president trump and my republican colleagues in congress is simple -- our federal workers just want to do their job. it's time that you do yours. j. david cox. mr. cox: good morning. and i truly want to thank speaker pelosi and leader schumer for inviting us here today. federal employees are absolutely, completely and without reservation opposed to this government shutdown, lockout. and it is a lockout, brothers and sisters. whether we're being forced to
work without pay or locked out of our jobs and prevented from going to work, we want this shutdown lockout to end this very minute. we don't just oppose it because we're not getting paid, but that would be reason enough. we don't just oppose it because we're being kept from doing our jobs on behalf of the american citizens, but that would be enough. we don't just oppose it because it makes a mockery of our democracy and our government, but that, too, would be reason enough. we oppose it for all those reasons, plus another very important reason. one, we oppose being held hostage. we oppose being held collateral damage. we oppose the use of extortion instead of reasoned debate. we oppose politicians who think
so little of us, our work, and the institutions of government that they think nothing of bringing whole government departments to their knees. let's be vigorous in the debate over budgets and taxes and spending and border security. the senate is the greatest deliberative body in the world and so is the house. laughter] oh, madam speaker, i was getting there. but let everyone make their best but let everyone make their best arguments. try to persuade people. that's our system of government. that's the system of checks and balances in our government. but do not hold the government hostage. do not hold our tax dollars hostage. do not hold federal employees hostage. do not hold our
members' paychecks hostage. this morning, you'll hear from real federal employees who will tell you what's happening all across this country as our members try to figure out how to pay their bills this week without a paycheck on payday. you're going to hear from eric young from the bureau of prisons and holly salamido from h.u.d. and from steve from fema, and you're going to hear what this shutdown -- and it is a lockout -- feels like. what the damage is doing to real people whose average take-home pay is $500 a week. real families, they need their jobs. they need their payday. they want to serve the american people, and it's time for this lockout to end. thank you so much, madam speaker, and mr. leader.
thank you. eric young with our council of prison local. mr. young: good morning. my name is eric young, national president of the council of prison locals. we represent 32,000 employees inside our nation's 122 federal facilities. federal correctional workers are the lowest paid federal law enforcement officers in government. many live paycheck to paycheck. our law enforcement officers start at a low pay scale. gs-5, gs-6, gs-7 averaging between $500 and $700 a week. many of our professionals are single mothers who are being forced to work without pay and still have the responsibility to pay for childcare and other expenses like gas to get to work. they are mom and dads who are in most cases single sole source of income in their household. the workers taking care of their
families, their children, the elderly parents. veterans make up 30% to 40% of our federal workforce. our veterans took off from their uniform in the military to put on their uniforms in our american prisons. supervising some of the most heinous criminals in this society. than most law enforcements would see in pretty much in an entire career. yet, our pay is held for ransom. so this shutdown must end. allowing this shutdown to go on any longer is completely unconscionable. this underfunding, the lack of staffing is so bad we have secretaries, cooks, and teachers filling in every day behind missing correctional officers. this shutdown only makes it worse. so what does it serve america's public to shut down the government in the name of border security and neglect our
internal security and the fabric inside our federal prisons? we are the faces behind this shutdown. we are the real people working in the bureau of prisons, in the transportation and security administration, and other federal agencies today doing so without federal pay. end this shutdown. if something happens to any of our professionals behind this distraction, blood will be on your hands. stop playing chicken with our lives. [applause] i'd like to introduce holly salamido.
ms. salamido: my name is holly salamido, and i serve as president of afge council 222, representing more than 5,000 employees across the country who work at the department of housing and urban development. this is a very difficult time for h.u.d. employees. many h.u.d. employees, some of whom earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year, live paycheck to paycheck. employees can't make their car payments. they can't pay their daycare providers. if you don't pay your daycare provider, you lose your slot, and that is serious business. with the length of time this shutdown has gone on, people are going to start missing their mortgage payments which could affect their credit rating. these financial impacts are serious and long lasting. we've asked employees to share some of their financial difficulties. in many cases they're embarrassed or ashamed to publicly disclose that they live paycheck to paycheck. in addition to federal employees, the people that h.u.d. serves are impacted. h.u.d.'s mission includes serving some of the poorest people in america. i am told that building inspections are not taking place. h.u.d. has oversight responsibility for public housing authorities, and if there's a problem, there's no
one at h.u.d. to call. in some cases, people are facing eviction. the repercussions of this shutdown are real, and we need congress to reopen the government immediately. thank you. mr. reaves from fema. mr. reaves: my name is steve reaves. i am a 23 year veteran. i retired from the army. i'm here today as the leader of the union for fema. we have more than 3,200 employees at the federal emergency management agency. we're just recovering from one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent memory. not to mention historic wildfires that's devastated california. ordinarily, this is when we restock, this is when we rest our people, this is when we prepare for the next big
disaster. what this means is, anyone who needs insurance claims, property damages while we're out and the american people ask, where is fema, we're furloughed. we need the government open now. speaker pelosi. speaker pelosi: thank you very much, steve. have any questions? before we do, i want to address something, a couple things we heard here. we heard that many of our public employees, federal public employees are veterans. our veterans are very adversely affected by this. if we want to support our veterans, we will not hurt their credit rating. and that's what missing a mortgage, a rental payment, a car payment and the rest does to everyone's credit rating. as far as credit ratings are concerned, the credit rating of the united states of america will be affected if this goes on, as the president says he's
willing to let it go for months or years. how irresponsible in that regard. if you're going to negotiate, it's really important to stipulate to a set of facts and what the president said last night was not factual. it was not factual. we all want to evaluate what the threat is at the border. we all are committed to strong border security. we have suggested ways to do that, whether it's technology, it's scanning of cars, other technology, whether it's roads and infrastructure at our ports of entry and the rest. there's a path here, but it is not one that the administration wants to take. they seem to have a disrespect the role of governance in our country, and, therefore, for the people who implement the -- make the services available to people. so this is a problem. if the president is going to go on and on about a
mischaracterization -- now, we don't want to underestimate any challenge to our security. we are all committed to border security. if he's going to misrepresent the nature of that challenge, then we have to say to him, mr. president, the evidence does not support the threat that you are describing. with that, any questions? reporter: if this goes on, continues to go on with no end in sight, will there ever reach a point where you have to negotiate a middle ground on money for the border wall and for border security with this president? speaker pelosi: we have been negotiating. the white house seems to move the goal post every time they come with a proposal. they walk away from it. pretty soon these goal posts won't even be in the stadium. we say to them, if we can come to some agreement, we want it in writing so the public can see it so it doesn't change.
senator schumer: but it's much harder to achieve a good negotiation while the government is shut down. the first order of business -- we'll continue to negotiate. the first order of business, open up the government. you heard these people, right? >> open up the government. >> open it up. reporter: are you open to middle ground? reporter: we are seeing a growing number of republicans saying they do support your plan to reopen the government. do you think you can get enough members from the other side of the aisle to force the republicans' hand to act on this? senator schumer: well -- speaker pelosi: the president -- i thank you for that question because really, some of the responsibility, of course, is on the president who just has an obsession with this wall, but it's on the republicans in congress as well. they know full well that we have to open up government, and we have to do so as soon as possible. and, yet, they're walking away from their own legislation.
this is legislation that passed in the senate 92-0 on the floor, and unanimously in committee. so we just -- we didn't come up with our own idea in terms of negotiating. we took their idea and said, again, take yes -- take yes for an answer. senator schumer: and let me say this. every republican voted in the senate to keep the government open when leader mcconnell put the -- i guess -- 30-day extension. it's a little more than 30 days. but the extension on the floor. as leader pelosi said, we tried to make it easy for them. of the six bills that leader pelosi and the house passed, four passed the floor 92-6. so a vast majority of republicans voted for them. the two that didn't pass committee unanimously, leader mcconnell voted for all them. so we're not -- we're trying to make it as easy as possible for our republican friends to join us in opening up the government.
reporter: speaker pelosi -- reporter: i'm wondering -- [inaudible] i'm wondering if i could see a show of hands, how many want to see the government open but also a wall built? nobody. speaker pelosi: this is another example of the president being almost delusionary about what it is. he says that to us -- oh, the workers are calling me saying i'll stay out without a paycheck as long as it takes. >> not true. speaker pelosi: give us names. name names. but the fact is it's not right. senator schumer: the federal workers are as much more president trump's position on shutdown and the wall as the four past presidents were. thank you. >> do you have a response on
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