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Congressman Courtney Votes to End Partial Government Shutdown

January 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted to pass legislation in the House of Representatives that would immediately re-open the government and pay federal employees. This is the tenth piece of legislation House Democrats have brought forth and that Congressman Courtney has voted in favor of to open the government and end the partial government shutdown for the 800,000 Americans who have either been furloughed or are working without pay.

“I voted today for the tenth time since the 116th Congress began to end this shutdown,” said Congressman Courtney. “The ten bills that the House has passed aren’t just symbolic proposals to reopen the government – they’re bills that are in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s inbox. He can take them up whenever he decides to do so and allow for the Senate to take a vote to end this shutdown. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires the President of the United States to pre-approve bills before they’re voted on, in either chamber, and there is nothing that should be preventing Senator McConnell from simply allowing a vote.

“For 33 days, Senator McConnell has had options at his disposal to reopen the government. Today we voted to give him one more by passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act. It’s time for Senator McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on legislation to end this shutdown.”

Congressman Courtney has supported ten different measures attempting to end the partial government shutdown. Today’s legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 648), would end the partial government shutdown by providing appropriations for all agencies outside of Homeland Security through September 30 (Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation earlier in the month to fund Homeland Security through February 8th). Today’s funding package also includes $1.6 billion in key border security-related measures, including funding for improvements in security at ports of entry, additional immigration judges, and assistance to Central America.

Since the 116th Congress was sworn in, Congressman Courtney has supported and voted for ten different measures attempting to open the government and fund key agencies:

  1. Jan. 23 – Congressman Courtney voted to pass legislation that would fund all agencies outside of Homeland Security through September 30
  2. Jan. 17 – Congressman Courtney supported legislation which would reopen all federal agencies through February 28 

*The House reconsidered this measure today due to a procedural inquiry that occurred after initial passage of the legislation.

  1. Jan. 16 – Congressman Courtney voted to pass legislation to provide aide to communities recovering from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, and to re-open the federal government 
  2. Jan. 15 – Congressman Courtney voted to end the shutdown and fund the government through Feb. 1.  
  1. Jan. 11 – Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to fund the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior.  
  2. Jan. 10 – Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to fund the Departments of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other key agencies.  
  1. Jan. 10 – Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to fund the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.  
  2. Jan. 9 – Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to fund the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.  
  1. Jan. 3 – Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8 – giving the president and Congressional leadership time to negotiate a compromise on border security while reopening our government.  
  2. Jan. 3 – Congressman Courtney helped pass a package of six appropriations bills that have all previously either passed the Senate with unanimous or overwhelming bipartisan support. 

In addition to supporting every opportunity that has arisen to end the partial government shutdown, Congressman Courtney has also sought to advance legislation to provide immediate funding specifically to the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as to help other victims of the shutdown. Congressman Courtney is a cosponsor of the Pay Our Coast Guard Act (H.R.350), a bill that would provide the Coast Guard with immediate Fiscal Year 2019 funding despite the ongoing government shutdown. Congressman Courtney voted in favor of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act (S.24), a bill that was signed into law by President Trump on January 16th and  ensures that federal workers who have been furloughed or who have worked without pay during the partial government shutdown will be retroactively paid after the shutdown ends, and guarantees that the compensation of “essential” employees who are working throughout the shutdown will be paid as soon as possible, regardless of scheduled federal pay dates. Congressman Courtney is a cosponsor of the Financial Relief for Feds Act (H.R.545), a bill to allow penalty-free distributions from retirement accounts for federal employees and certain federal contractors impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown. Congressman Courtney is also a cosponsor of the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act (H.R.588), which would protect federal employees from foreclosures, evictions, or loan defaults during the shutdown, and would prohibit landlords and creditors from penalizing federal employees who cannot pay their rent or loans during the shutdown. 

Throughout the partial government shutdown, Congressman Courtney has sought to bring attention to its detrimental economic impact on eastern Connecticut residents and federal employees, as well as on the private sector and the economy at large. On Tuesday, January 8, Congressman Courtney spoke on the House floor, sharing real-life stories from eastern Connecticut residents on how the shutdown has impacted them. Click here to read more and to watch his full remarks from the House Floor. Click here to view Congressman Courtney’s January 10th Facebook update; Click here to view his January 15th Facebook update.