January 15, 2019

AUDIO: On ‘Tuesdays with Tom,’ Udall Discusses Disastrous Effects of Trump Shutdown on New Mexico Families, Tribes, and Public Lands

Udall: “The president needs to stop holding these New Mexicans hostage for his toxic political agenda”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall held a press conference call for local reporters to discuss the devastating consequences of the Trump shutdown — now the longest shutdown in American history — for New Mexico families. During the call, he addressed the disastrous effects of the president’s act of political extortion on federal workers, farmers, ranchers, Tribes, and public lands across New Mexico and Indian Country.  

“President Trump and his allies in Congress are holding the livelihoods of thousands of New Mexicans hostage in an attempt to force taxpayers to spend over $5 billion on an offensive—and ineffective—border wall,” Udall said. “New Mexico is one of the states that is being hit the hardest by this Trump shutdown. My staff estimates that at least 10,800 New Mexicans work for an agency that is shut down. That is a very conservative estimate. The vast majority of these individuals are either furloughed or working without pay.”

“Critical services have been shuttered, affecting communities all across our state. For our state’s Tribes, essential programs – for health and public safety —  are grinding to a halt,” Udall continued. “The shutdown has also closed USDA – shutting down loans for farmers and ranchers and economic development programs for rural communities. Food assistance is in jeopardy for hundreds of thousands in New Mexico. Many of our state’s national parks and monuments – like Bandelier and White Sands – remain closed, endangering not just these special places, but also the local economies they support. And while he claims this is about border security, the president is actually forcing the officers at our ports of entry and border patrol agents to either work with no pay or be furloughed.”

“The president needs to stop holding these New Mexicans hostage for his toxic political agenda,” Udall concluded. “Democrats have offered bipartisan solutions to re-open the government. The president needs to accept sensible compromise – and if he won’t, Republican leaders need to stand up to him”

Listen to the audio HERE. 

Below are Udall’s remarks:

0:03 -- Today is the 25th day of the Trump shutdown. We are now well into the longest government shutdown in American history.

0:12 -- President Trump and his allies in Congress are holding the livelihoods of thousands of New Mexicans hostage in an attempt to force taxpayers to spend over $5 billion on an offensive—and ineffective—border wall.  

0:27 -- New Mexico is one of the states that is being hit the hardest by this Trump shutdown. My staff estimates that at least 10,800 New Mexicans work for an agency that is shut down. That is a very conservative estimate. The vast majority of these individuals are either furloughed or working without pay. 

0:48 -- Critical services have been shuttered, affecting communities all across our state. For our state’s Tribes, essential programs – for health and public safety --  are grinding to a halt.

1:01 -- The shutdown has also closed USDA – shutting down loans for farmers and ranchers and economic development programs for rural communities. Food assistance is in jeopardy for hundreds of thousands in New Mexico.  

1:16 -- Many of our state’s national parks and monuments – like Bandelier and White Sands – remain closed, endangering not just these special places, but also the local economies they support.  

1:29 -- And while he claims this is about border security, the president is actually forcing the officers at our ports of entry and border patrol agents to either work with no pay or be furloughed. 

1:43 -- So many New Mexicans who have been hurt by this Trump shutdown have written to my office to share their stories.  

1:49 -- An employee with the Department of Interior in Albuquerque wrote to say that she is “not one of the federal employees the president is touting as wanting to be out of work without a paycheck until he gets his wall.” 

2:02 -- “Federal employees do not want to stay out of work; we want to go back to work and get paid. This is not our fight, just his,” she concluded. 

2:13 -- The president needs to stop holding these New Mexicans hostage for his toxic political agenda. Democrats have offered bipartisan solutions to re-open the government. The president needs to accept sensible compromise – and if he won’t, Republican leaders need to stand up to him. 

2:32 -- I certainly disagree with the president about how best to keep our nation safe and secure, while also living up to our values. I join New Mexico’s border communities in rejecting the president’s wasteful and ineffective wall. 

2:47 -- We can debate these issues – and we will. But in the meantime, we need to open up the government. Too many New Mexicans have already been hurt by President Trump’s act of political extortion.  

3:00 -- Udall takes questions regarding the shutdown.