National Federation of Federal Employees National President Randy Erwin said he and some 800,000 affected workers are “relieved” that a temporary agreement was forged Friday to reopen the full government, although the short-term measure expires Feb. 15.
“This shutdown—which amounted to nothing more than an expensive political stunt—caused irreparable harm to working families across the country and to the American economy as a whole. Federal workers and others have resorted to selling their possessions, and many have defaulted on loans and mortgages in order to afford heat, medicine, and food,” Erwin said in a statement after President Trump and congressional Democratic leaders announced the deal.
“These 34 days will serve as a shameful chapter in American history; one characterized by a massive failure by our nation’s leaders who callously turned their backs on more than a million working families over a political stunt in which these families had no stake or fault,” Erwin added. “History and the electorate will not reflect kindly on this moment.”
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association President Jon Ostrowski said he’s “grateful the president and Congress have agreed to a short term deal to offer some relief to all of the federal workers and our Coast Guard who have endured much pain and suffering for the past 35 days.”
“We are stronger because we have gone through this experience that we never expected in our lifetime,” Ostrowski said. “But our fight isn’t over. For the next three weeks I will continue to fight for the passage of S21 or HR367 to ensure the Coast Guard’s budget is protected should we have another government shutdown. Your support in this effort is still needed and valuable. You can expect to see calls to action demanding the fore mentioned bills become law.”
Trump indicated in a tweet later Friday that “in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted, “In 21 days President @realDonaldTrump is moving forward building the wall with or without the Democrats. The only outstanding question is whether the Democrats want something or nothing.”
Erwin stressed the need for the administration and lawmakers to prevent another devastating shutdown in three weeks.
“I call upon all who were party to causing this shutdown to reflect deeply on the pain and anguish you instigated and unleashed upon innocent Americans. You are responsible for this pain and anguish whether you acknowledge it or not,” he said, adding that back pay should be issued “quickly next week, before the next scheduled pay date, so that federal families can get their lives back in order.”
Erwin said he was “heartened” to see so many individuals, nonprofits, and businesses support federal workers during the shutdown with “food, discounts, and other necessities… despite the failures of our national leadership to do the same.”