DeFazio meets with federal workers in Eugene after shutdown deal reached

DeFazio met with federal employees to discuss how they've been impacted since the government shutdown began.

Posted: Jan 25, 2019 5:54 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2019 6:24 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Rep. Peter DeFazio met with federal workers impacted by the shutdown on Friday after President Donald Trump announced plans to reopen the goverment temporarily. DeFazio said the meeting was emotional.

The meeting was just the latest of similar meetings he's had with federal workers during the partial government shutdown, DeFazio said. These workers have now missed two paychecks, and some are having to take second jobs with companies like Uber just to pay their bills.

Before DeFazio's meeting, Trump announced plans for a three-week continuing resolution that would end the shutdown until Feb. 15 as they work toward a long-term solution. But DeFazio said the workers he spoke to said that's simply not long enough.

RELATED: Trump, Congress leaders reach deal to end shutdown

"They said three weeks doesn't cut it," DeFazio said. "There were people there who are at the supervisory level. They said we're trying to hire people into the agency -- GS-4, GS-5. How are we going to hire people if, you know, three weeks from today they might, you know, they might not be getting a paycheck?"

DeFazio said he does think significant progress will be made while the government is back open but made one thing clear: federal workers can't go any longer without pay.

"It just can't happen. It just can't happen. I mean, routinely -- I've been there a long time, and we've had a few shutdowns. But generally, they are resolved by saying, okay, look, we've got some disputes, let's just continue existing operations while we work out these disputes called continuing resolutions."

DeFazio said no matter what deals are made over the next few weeks, his message to people at Saturday's town hall will be the same.

"We're going to see long-lasting impacts from this, and (federal employees) said three weeks does not cut it," DeFazio said. "It does not get to the heart of the problem, and they asked me if I could figure out a way that this does not happen again, and I think there might be a way."

That town hall meeting will still be happening on Saturday as scheduled, at 3 p.m. in the Center for Meeting and Learning at Lane Community College.

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