January 17, 2019

VIDEO: In Senate Floor Speech, Udall Shares the Shutdown Fears of a New Mexico Family Being Pushed to the Brink After Missing Paycheck

Udall also takes to the steps of the U.S. Capitol to show the faces of New Mexicans paying the price for the Trump shutdown

VIDEO: In Senate Floor Speech, Udall Shares the Shutdown Fears of a New Mexico Family Being Pushed to the Brink After Missing Paycheck 

PHOTO: Udall Joins Senate Democrats on Capitol Steps to Highlight New Mexicans & Americans Hurt By Shutdown

WASHINGTON – In a speech from the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tom Udall shared the story and fears of a family from New Mexico that is concerned about its financial security after missing a paycheck due to the Trump shutdown. Udall’s remarks came just before he joined with his Democratic colleagues on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to highlight the workers, families, and communities across the country who continue to feel the bite of the longest government shutdown in American history.

In his speech, Udall highlighted the story of the Ornelas family of Carlsbad, New Mexico: Leah Tereasa and Ervie, and their two sons. Their youngest, Zachary, had a brain tumor, and now lives with disabilities and requires constant care. His brother, Ian, serves as the main provider for the family but due to the shutdown, he’s been furloughed from his job at the Department of Interior for 26 days. Ian missed his first paycheck last week – and the Ornelas are scared to death that he’ll miss another, and another.

“The Ornelas family has made tremendous sacrifices as a family. They can make no more ‘adjustments’ -- as the president callously advised,” Udall said on the Senate floor. “This Trump shutdown must end now. The president and Senate majority must do the right thing for the Ornelas family -- and hundreds of thousands of families across the nation -- and open our government. 

Last week, Udall, along with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, cosponsored and voted for legislation in the Senate to ensure that impacted federal and other government workers will receive their back pay as soon as federal agencies reopen. 

Below are Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery. 

Mr. President. This is Leah Tereasa Ornelas, her husband Ervie, and their sons Ian and Zachary, from Carlsbad, New Mexico. Zachary, their youngest – in the middle -- had a brain tumor and has undergone two surgeries.   

Zachary is now disabled, and requires constant care.  Ervie, his stepfather, reduced his work by 75 percent as a daycare teacher to take care of Zachary. Leah’s paycheck as a public nurse goes to their high insurance costs and medical bills. The family moved back in together to save expenses.

Their older son Ian is now the main provider for the family.  Ian works for the Department of Interior, has been furloughed 26 days, and has now missed a paycheck. 

The Ornelas family is scared to death Ian will miss another, and another.  They simply cannot make it without Ian being paid.

The Ornelas family has made tremendous sacrifices as a family.  They can make no more “adjustments” -- as the president callously advised.  

This Trump shutdown must end now.  The president and Senate majority must do the right thing for the Ornelas family -- and hundreds of thousands of families across the nation -- and open our government.