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Public Statements

The People's Right to Representative Government

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HANABUSA. To the gentleman from Texas, I appreciate the inquiry.

As you may probably be aware, because of its unique location and its location before the time we were a State, Hawaii has a large Federal presence, and a lot of them are in the military. Because of the actions of this House, plus the Senate, plus the President, about 20,000 of them are defense. The last time I was able to check, we just had a small handful that were yet not back to work, but we do have a large number who did not work.

What is being impacted now are the other agencies which had some funds like, for example, the courts, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the other people like, for example, the State Department. All of them we are watching very carefully, but we have an additional number--somewhere between 6,000 to 9,000--who are being affected. As the gentleman knows, it is not only they; it is the people they service, and it is their families who are being impacted.


Ms. HANABUSA. The gentleman is correct that we as the House of Representatives unanimously passed that bill that we would pay the furloughed workers. You are also absolutely correct that, because the government is still shut down and because the Republican position is to open up government piecemeal, with no concurrence on the Senate's part, that that is exactly what is going to happen.

Many of these Federal workers feel like, Why can't we go to work? We are getting paid to work. Why isn't that happening?

I believe that that is clearly a disservice, not only to the workers, themselves, but to the people of this great Nation. It makes no sense.

I yield to the gentlelady from Florida.


Ms. HANABUSA. I thank the gentleman from Texas.

I think what everyone needs to understand clearly, what the gentleman from Texas was referring to was the level of funding in the continuing resolution which was amended by the Senate at $986 billion. As the gentlewoman from Florida said, for many Democrats that was unacceptable. But you know what, the Democrats haven't had the opportunity to vote because it hasn't come to the floor, but it is a compromise.


Ms. HANABUSA. To the gentleman from California, I want to say aloha and mahalo. You are from California; but as far as I am concerned, you have been a great friend of Hawaii all along. Your concern over the shutdown is not only for your constituents in California but the constituents of the United States. And I know we in Hawaii, we also have a special place in your heart. So I thank the gentleman.


Ms. HANABUSA. I thank the gentleman from California. The gentleman from California makes some great points, including that we are never fully aware of the impacts, and that is what is the saddest part of what has been done with the shutdown, and that is we do not know what are the true impacts. I can say for my Democrat colleagues, that is the reason why we fight so hard on trying to reopen government. But the question is for the majority party and especially for the Speaker, what about the people? The gentleman raises a great point.

I just would like to share something before I call upon the gentlelady from Illinois. I just learned recently in visiting with some of the most decorated members of the Greatest Generation, members of the acclaimed 442nd Regiment in Hawaii, everyone knows about them, and one person came up to me and said, You know, we found out that although our fathers sort of suffered quietly as a result of that war and the result of the rejection by a Nation that didn't want them, that they were suffering from PTSD, we just didn't know that it was called that back then.

I think the gentleman from California makes an amazing point, that we have got to see the hidden injuries, because if we can all look upon the hidden injuries; no one, on either side of the aisle, can let this craziness continue.

With that, I yield to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Mrs. Bustos).


Ms. HANABUSA. If the gentlelady would stay for some conversation.

I had the opportunity to actually go to Rock Island. I know people are probably saying, what is somebody from Hawaii doing in Rock Island? I also want people to know how difficult it must be for Jill because Rock Island Arsenal, what many may not be aware of, is the last foundry of the United States Army we have in the United States. They actually do do things like the necessary plates to keep people safe in the Humvees and the Strykers and things like that. They are also faced with the question as we withdraw or draw-down from Afghanistan, and as we have drawn down from Iraq, of what happens to Rock Island Arsenal, and what they are able to do for the military--the whole idea of reset, and what do we do with that? I can just imagine the uncertainty with sequestration, with the drawdown, and now with this unnecessary shutdown that it must cause her amazing and critical concern about the future of her family, and to put on top of that the concern over veterans benefits.

Because we have talked about this, I would like for you to share how your office has been able to get this kind of information because you have actually adjusted your schedule and what your office does to service your constituents. I would like for you to say that because it is so important as to how you have tried to adjust and make things easier for them.


Ms. HANABUSA. I thank very much the gentlelady from Oregon, who clearly is in her district looking and hearing what her constituents are saying. I will always remember Beaverton, Oregon, and her 700 constituent employees of that company that is unable to ship, because that is really what this is about. We initially reacted to the immediate impact of the Federal employees, but now we are beginning to see, as the gentlelady from Oregon pointed out, that it is more than just the immediate employees, contractors who deal with the Federal Government; it is also the people who need the Federal Government because of their businesses. So the gentlelady from Oregon has brought forth an amazing story, as well as given us further insight into how this really Republican government shutdown has hurt everyone.

Now I would like to call upon the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Frankel).


Ms. HANABUSA. Thank you to my good friend, the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Frankel). As she always has the capacity of bringing things down to the basics, I would hate to admit that we would be less popular than the Ebola virus; but knowing the gentlelady from Florida, she probably has a basis for what she has said.

Mr. Speaker, my Special Order time is running down, and I would just like to say, after listening to all of the people who have spoken--the gentleman from Texas, the gentleman from California, the gentlewoman from Florida, the gentlewoman from Oregon, and the gentlewoman from Illinois--and all of their stories that they have shared and the concerns of their constituents, you have got to start to ask the question, why, and what does the Republican majority, Mr. Speaker, intend to gain--to gain--from this shutdown?

Let's also look at H. Res. 368 that we passed on October 1 regarding the amendment to clause 4 of rule XXII that says, any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59--and we all know that is the CR--may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee. You add this on top of everything else, the inability for people to come forward on behalf of their constituents to ask for unanimous consent to bring House Joint Resolution 59 to the floor, not being able to do that, and the fact that we have a petition, a discharge petition that people are signing up for because that is the only alternative, is this the message we want to give to the people of the United States, that not only does the House of Representatives shut down government because of a minority group within the Republican Party that is the majority, but in addition to that, you have taken away the ultimate form of representative government, which is that each and every one of their elected Representatives has a right to come before this body and to make a motion and to be heard? But instead we have shut that down on October 1 as well. That should be even more problematic to the people of this great Nation, that a motion and a rule such as that was passed. And, Mr. Speaker, I remind you, nine--nine--of your own Republicans couldn't even stomach that and could not vote for that.

So why are we doing this? Why? It began with, well, we will go along with the continuing resolution that the Senate sent back on the condition that we first defund ObamaCare. We had delays of ObamaCare. We had repeals of ObamaCare, and that sort of lasted for last week and then it stopped. No mention of ObamaCare. No mention at all of ObamaCare.

Then what did we start to do? We started to pick and choose and cherry-pick which part of government we wanted to open up. And you knew that was DOA, dead on arrival in the Senate. But yet, Mr. Speaker, you decided well, maybe the optics would be better. But it hasn't been better. It has not been better.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come out against not only the failure to address the debt ceiling and saying that the United States cannot default; they also said you shouldn't allow the shutdown. And big businesses have also said that. Banks have said that. People that the average person probably associates more with the Republican Party than they do with the Democrats, and they are saying do not do this. Yet it is being done. It is being done.

The people in Hawaii will know this concept, and the concept is save face. You know, we have a saying back home that what people sometimes need to do is save face. And I think that is what it comes down to. The polls, Wall Street Journal polls are slamming the Republican position, Mr. Speaker. You are being given but a 24 percent favorable rating. So what does that say to you? It says the people are not with you. The people do not support this crazy--I don't know what to call it. I would like to say it is a plan, but I can't see anyone being behind a plan that makes the people of this great Nation suffer.

You heard the story of Jill. You heard the story from the gentleman from California who talks about he knows people are suffering PTSD. You have heard the fears of not being able--not being able--to know when you will be working and when you are not going to be working.

Yes, we in the House passed, we passed 3223--I believe that number is correct--that says we will retropay. But that doesn't give them their paycheck because a continuing resolution hasn't passed; and it hasn't passed the Senate, though we believe the Senate will be with it, and we also believe the President will sign it into law. But for those people, yes, it is like an empty promise, the same empty promise that they believe we had when everyone said we are not going to shut down government. Why would we shut down government? And here we are, this is the 12th day of the shutdown, day 12, and do we have anything to tell them? No.

Instead, we emphasize the fact that their Representatives who want to see a vote, because we believe that there are members of the Republican Party who will support a clean CR and a voting to open up government at the level, at the level of funding which the Republicans wanted, Paul Ryan wanted, but we are not even able to do that because of a procedural move.

Procedural moves are what the people of this great Nation dislike the most, because they feel that it is some kind of hidden deal and we are not being transparent and we are also not giving people true representation. To abdicate the ability to bring something to the floor as important as the government continuing to operate to one person or his designee is exactly what the people do not want. And that is what we are dealing with, Mr. Speaker. We are dealing with this shutdown for no basis, because you have abandoned ObamaCare now. There is no ultimate plan.

We have the looming debt ceiling crisis, which is what Wall Street is even more concerned about than anything else, and what we should all be concerned about, because the full faith and credit of the United States should never be in question and should never be in jeopardy because we can cause a recession worldwide with that action. There is no plan. There is no plan.

You wanted to show that you could shut down government, Mr. Speaker, so you won. You shut it down. But now, now you must plan how to open it. And that has been always the criticism of our great country, that we always lack exit strategies, and this is another example of a lack of an exit strategy. You win the shutdown, but how do you open up? That is the question, Mr. Speaker. And that is the question that only you can answer to the people of this great Nation. And only you can answer to the people of this great Nation why, why you have taken away the ultimate form of representative government by abdicating the right to bring this most critical measure to this floor to one person or his designee.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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