Today marks Day 7 of the U.S. government shutdown. I’m in Washington, D.C., where it’s raining and I unfortunately didn’t pack a raincoat.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz made a speech over the weekend on the Senate floor, arguing that because of a “temper tantrum” thrown by House Republicans, people in Hawaii are suffering from the government shutdown. Schatz said in part:
More than 36,000 women and children in Hawai‘i depend on the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which makes sure that low-income mothers and infants are fed. Without funding, these families could actually go hungry. More than 3,000 children in Hawai‘i participate in Head Start programs. Head Start is a program that provides early education and related social services to children and their families. Without funding, these kids will have no place to go every day.
Schatz, who demanded that Speaker John Boehner let the House vote on a “clean” resolution to reopen the government, cited several examples of Hawaii folks that are hurting, including:
One small business owner from Makawao, on the island of Maui, is suffering because her business relies on traffic to and from the Haleakala National Park, which has been closed since Monday.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono also urged Boehner to allow a vote and mentioned several Hawaii people harmed by the shutdown, including:
Steffany told me about her husband, a federal worker whose job is to guard the public against foodborne illnesses and contamination. As an essential employee, her husband still has to report to work, but is doing so without pay.
“The solution is in Speaker Boehner’s hands. It’s time for him to do the right thing,” Hirono said.