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Menendez Questions State Department & USAID’s Plan to Circumvent Trump Shutdown

“Trying to hold a government together with duct tape and bailing wire is no way to govern”


WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Trump administration announced it would order State Department and USAID employees to return to work by reprogramming allocated funds to pay for their salaries during President Trump’s government shutdown.

“There is no doubt that President Trump’s temper tantrum over his wall and his pointless government shutdown continues to create a real risk for U.S. foreign policy, and what we stand for as a nation. And while I believe it is critically important that our diplomacy and development professionals get paid for their service to our nation, trying to hold a government together with duct tape and bailing wire is no way to govern. Both the State Department and USAID have been seriously underfunded and undervalued by this administration’s budget proposals, so it is hard for me to imagine how these proposals work without creating real and irreversible damage. As we await further clarity on this new funding scheme, I have serious questions about its impact on our embassy security, our efforts to combat terrorism, and other vital programs.

“One thing is clear, Republicans have kept our government officials out of work because they believe the President’s anti-immigrant agenda. It is time for the President to govern, instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul. President Trump is holding 800,000 federal workers hostage over $5.7 billion for a border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. The Senate could pass legislation to reopen the government today with a veto-proof majority – if Senate Republican Leader McConnell allowed a vote on it.”