Durbin: Federal Employees Don't Deserve To Be Punished While We Debate Border Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Republicans to put their constituents ahead of President Trump’s unrealistic campaign promise of a border wall, and reopen the government by supporting a short-term spending bill. Over the past month, Durbin has traveled throughout Illinois to meet with federal employees who are reeling as President Trump’s shutdown has forced them to work without pay. In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin shared his experience meeting with air traffic controllers who continue to work six days a week for 10 hour shifts without pay, and how the President’s shutdown has added unneeded stress to an already stressful job. 

“These men and women are innocent when it comes to our debate about border security.  They had absolutely nothing to do with the President’s promise of a grand and glorious wall from sea to shining sea, paid for by the Mexicans.  They didn’t make that up, the President did,” Durbin said.  “There are so many individuals who are providing security and safety across our nation, whether it’s the FBI, whether it’s our prison guards, whether it’s our Coast Guard, whether it’s the air traffic controllers.  Why in the world would we endanger any Americans because of our inability to reach a political agreement?”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor is available here.

This week, Durbin has met with air traffic controllers in Aurora, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, and federal correctional officers in Pekin, Illinois, and Marion, Illinois, to discuss the impact of the shutdown.

Earlier this month, Durbin met with employees of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research – also known as the Peoria Ag Lab – and highlighted how the government shutdown is threatening critical research projects, including key antibiotic research at the Peoria Ag Lab. 

Durbin also met with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at O’Hare Airport in Chicago to hear how the shutdown is affecting their lives.  More than 1,600 TSA employees at O’Hare Airport and more than 400 TSA employees at Midway Airport are currently working without pay.