Congressman Peterson and Republican Congressman Don Young lead Bipartisan Letter to Leadership Urging Action to Reopen Government and Protect Border

January 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) and Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) are leading a bipartisan letter urging President Trump and Congressional Leadership to come to an expeditious agreement to reopen the government while securing the border. Young and Peterson are currently adding co-signers to the letter, which illustrates a shared willingness to work across the aisle for common sense legislation. The letter is supported by an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.

“The partisan gridlock has gone on for too long, and the shutdown is hurting Minnesotans as it draws on,” Peterson said. “I have heard from hundreds of constituents who want to see the government reopened with increased border security. This ongoing stalemate is clearly hurting our constituents, and it is time we start working on measures that address these concerns. Bipartisan compromise is the only option for a long-term solution.”

“I support securing our nation’s borders, but in the long-run holding up the appropriations process does untold harm. I have experienced more than a dozen shutdowns and quite frankly, they aren’t the answer. It’s Congress’ Constitutional responsibility to fund the government and the American public sent us to Washington to keep the government running. We must fulfill that duty,” said Congressman Don Young. “This letter encourages good faith, bipartisan negotiations that will bring an end to this partial shutdown.”

Congressman Peterson’s office has continued to hear directly from constituents of the 7th District of Minnesota regarding the negative impacts from this government shutdown. These include:

  • Delayed Small Business Administration loan applications due to agency closures.
  • Halted licensing for new businesses by the FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is preventing businesses from opening. This is hurting small businesses like the Fergus Brewing Company, which cannot brew its products.
  • Farmers are unable to sign-up for Market Facilitation Payments and are unable to receive certifications of eligible production. MFP signup would have ended on January 15, 2019 but will be extended as many days as the offices are closed by the shutdown.
  • Closed Farm Service Agency offices, which are preventing farmers from cashing or depositing checks from grain and livestock sales. This stops our producers from paying their bills.
  • Delayed discussions on availability of operating loans for 2019.
  • Shut down applications for Farm Storage Facility Loan Program hurt farmers availability to store grain and reduces their flexibility to market products at higher prices.
  • Halted implementation of new farm bill commodity title provisions likely delaying sign-up for the 2019 crop year.
  • Reduced IRS staffing, which limits new guidance on tax changes in 2018 tax bill.
  • Potential delayed processing of tax refunds due to limited IRS staffing.
  • Uncertainty in future SNAP benefits should the shutdown continue past February.
  • Air traffic controllers are concerned about the shutdown’s effect on pay, training schedules, and the number of controllers able to take shifts.
  • Furloughed Homeland Security staff leaving American soil less safe.

The negative economic effects of the shutdown continue adding up. The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently doubled the shutdown’s impact on first quarter GDP growth, which will be decreased 2%.

Peterson has supported House measures to reopen the federal government and provide increased border security. He also supports building a wall where it’s most appropriate in addition to the use of other border crossing technologies.

The draft letter reads:

Dear President Trump and Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer:

For the good of our country, we call on you to end the brinkmanship and commit to legislation that would immediately reopen the government. We represent constituents who support strengthened border security, including expanded physical barriers where appropriate. The government shutdown is not moving us closer to a more secure border and is in fact making our country less safe. Effective border security will take years to establish and requires bipartisan buy-in to be lasting. We stand ready to work with you in good faith on legislation to secure the border and call for the immediate end to this wasteful government shutdown.