Hawaii Delegates Frustrated by Federal Shutdown Gridlock
Try the office doors for Hawaii's two senators in Washington and you'll find them locked. A sign on Mazie Hirono's door apologizes and explains that the government is closed.
Call Brian Schatz's office and you'll likely get an answering machine. While the incoming calls are listened to, staff are prohibited during the shutdown from calling back.
The offices of Hawaii's two representatives have remained open, albeit mostly with skeleton crews.
Colleen Hanabusa brought all her D.C. and Washington staff back to work Tuesday once the House passed legislation Saturday so that workers can eventually receive back pay. (The Senate has yet to act on the measure.) And Tulsi Gabbard's staff is rotating in and out and doing the best they can to get work done, according to her chief of staff, Jessica Vanden Berg.
Still, the shutdown means that lots of constituents from Hawaii can't get help with their federally related issues. Most will have to wait until the impasse ends and staff can resume case work. It's not necessarily because their delegates can't help them; it's because the government agencies they need to contact are shuttered.
"It's frustrating," said Hanabusa, who actually took to calling the Department of Defense herself to find out the status of furloughed workers and contractors in Hawaii. "They were surprised to hear from me."