PORT ORFORD, Ore. -- As Senator Jeff Merkley walked into his Port Orford Town Hall this afternoon, he was met with a standing ovation. Many attendees were eager to hear what he's working on back on in Washington, D.C., particularly in regards to the government shutdown.
"It's hideous that people are going without pay. Like right here in Oregon our coasties. There's been terrible storms here the last few weeks and those coasties have been helping people in those 30 foot waves for nothing," said the Chair of the Curry County Democratic Party Laurose Felicity.
Tuesday marked the 32nd day of the partial government shutdown, the longest in US history.
“[It’s] the longest we've ever had. There were 7 spending bills that were passed through the Republican-led Senate with bipartisan support. The President supported those until later, and then he opposed them. So essentially 7 spending bills have held hostage,” added Senator Merkley. “A proposed way out of this is to say 'well, the border argument is about homeland security so let's free 6 of the hostages and the 7th, let's do a continuing resolution through the middle of February so we can wrestle with how to find a compromise while putting the government back to work.’ We shouldn't have the Coast Guard and TSA and all sorts of other workers working without pay and others furloughed when we need those services. It's not fair to them. It's not fair to society. Let's put this government back to work."
Now Port Orford resident Chris Weiss said he used to live in Southern California, about 70 miles from the border. He said his daughter has been a border patrol agent for 19 years. He’s disappointed the Democrats are not in support of a wall but agreed the government needs to get working again.
"I agree that we need to get together and get this government up and running again. And to me, it's on the Democrats for not being willing,” Weiss said. “President Trump stayed in Washington and said come to the table and they were off in Puerto Rico and Hawai'i.”
Senator Merkley also spoke about other key issues like voter suppression, gerrymandering, and climate change. He said the US needs to do more when it comes to slowing down global warming.
"We've gone from thinking we have a problem to seeing it in so many, facts on the ground, ways. This is not something that we can fix in a generation from now. So we have to accelerate the transition from the cheapest energy we have as compare to 10 years ago it's now, the cheapest energy we have is wind and solar," said Senator Merkley.