Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one of the many progressive freshmen who was recently sworn in earlier this month, had time for President Donald Trump on Tuesday, delivering a blistering speech on the House floor against the government shut down.
Pressley slammed Trump for his insistence in tying up his infamous border wall proposal to the government shutdown.
“This has nothing to do with border security,” she said. “Your shutdown, another Trump generated crisis, has brought a tsunami of hurt.’
“Mr. Trump, you took an oath just as I did five days ago, to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people,” she added. “Sir, you dishonor that oath. You devalue the life of the immigrant, the worker, and the survivor. I see right through you and so do the American people.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 8, 2019
This is Pressley’s first House floor speech as a congresswoman and she certainly isn’t pulling any punches as the government stalls in its third week of the partial shutdown, with more than 800,000 now expecting to miss out on paychecks, and many programs, including important food assistance running the risk of running dry the Boston Globe notes.
Pressley took her chance to speak out for “the voices of the unheard.”
“I rise today on behalf of the families concerned about feeding their children because their WIC benefits will run dry,” she said. “I rise today in solidarity with the thousands of workers with calloused hands and broken spirits working for no pay…I rise today in support of the survivor fleeing violent hands, seeking safety, only to find the shelter door locked because of your shutdown. I rise today in support of the American people, who believe in the promise of this nation and ask for honest pay for an honest day’s work. Today I rise as one and I stand as thousands.”
Pressley’s words on the floor resulted in her receiving a warning for breaching House etiquette, with Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the Speaker pro tempore, reminding her after her speech to “refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president.”
But Pressley isn’t just talking the talk. She’s walking the walk too. According to the Globe, the congresswoman is pushing to bring about legislation that would protect government workers who sometimes never end up getting paid at the end of a shutdown.
The Globe notes:
While federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown have typically been retroactively paid following previous shutdowns, thousands of additional federal contractors — many of whom are hourly, low-wage workers — are likely to never get reimbursed for lost wages.
The bill Pressley is co-sponsoring alongside fellow Democrats in the house would require federal contractors to provide backpay to low-wage workers forced to go on leave in the midst of the shutdown.
“We must ensure that contract services workers, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, are able to recover their lost wages,” she said in a statement.
800k workers are without pay as the shutdown drags on. 2,000 of those workers who make up the backbone of our government in food service & janitorial services won’t qualify for backpay when the gov reopens. Today I wrote to leadership because we need to fix this: @SEIU @32BJSEIU pic.twitter.com/ytZ5vx7iSh
— Rep Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) January 6, 2019
“Regardless of the critical nature of their work, these men and women are forced to live paycheck to paycheck and have been disproportionately impacted by this reckless shutdown,” she added.