Kaine wants Trump to reopen government so Coast Guard, others can be paid

National

WASHINGTON (WAVY) — President Trump said in December he would take the blame for a government shutdown, but more recently, and last night from the Oval Office, he pointed a finger.

“The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only, because Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said in a nationally televised address that lasted about nine minutes.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) says his party has made viable offers regarding border security and immigration. 

“We’ve proposed a deal to the president, massive investments in border security and protections for Dreamers last February. He not only turned the deal down, he blew up the deal.”

Kaine wants to treat border security and immigration apart from the shutdown. The president wants more than $5 billion to build a wall. He says it will prevent crime.

“Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.”

But Kaine says the vast majority of illegal drugs come into the U.S. either through legal points of entry, the mail, or package delivery services. He says if the president is serious about stopping the flow of drugs, he needs to get the Coast Guard back at work.

“They’re a really important law enforcement body that helps us with the very challenge the president was talking about, but the president has shuttered the Coast Guard.” 

While roughly 41,000 active-duty Coast Guardsmen are still working through the shutdown without pay, the Washington Post reported, about 6,400 of its civilian workforce are on indefinite furlough and 2,100 workers considered essential are working without pay. That’s because Coast Guard officials say they won’t have the money for members’ January 15 paycheck (funding was able to be secured for the Dec. 31 pay period). 

The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and not with other military services under the Department of Defense, which has funding. 

In another issue involving the president, Kaine says he’s alarmed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to step down if Attorney General nominee William Barr is confirmed.

“Rod Rosenstein has protected the integrity of the Mueller investigation. If he departs, the question will be for the nominee William Barr, will you protect the investigation?”

Confirmation hearings for Barr could begin within the next two weeks. Meanwhile, if the shutdown lasts beyond Friday, it will be the longest in U.S. history.

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