With the partial government shutdown in its 20th day, protesters showed up in front of U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s office demanding it come to an end.
The rally outside Portman’s Columbus office consisted of chanting “Take The Vote” and “Pay TSA”.
Meanwhile, the Senator announced the introduction of two bills to get government employees back to work and prevent this from happening again.
Protesters’ frustration with the partial government shutdown is grew to a fever pitch Friday and their anger was given voice by numerous individuals on the sidewalk outside Portman’s office.
“We feel betrayed,” said Aaron Bankston, the President of Local 615, which represents TSA workers in Ohio. “We’re working hard and nobody is having our back.”
Bankston and his members are not alone. Rick Hanna, the Vice President of Local 3448, representing workers with the Social Security Administration, was carrying a sign that read ‘Build a Wall Around Trump.’
“When you’ve got people that you elect to represent you and your families and you feel like you either have been deserted or you’ve not been well represented, then this is the only option that we have, is to come out and voice our displeasure,” said Hanna.
Less than an hour before the Rally, Portman’s office announced he and several other senators would be introducing two bills that would end the shutdown and eliminate them for good.
The first bill creates a $25 billion trust fund to be used for border security and codifies DACA protections.
The other bill creates an automatic continuing resolution that would prevent any government shutdown from happening when budget negotiations fail.
Portman released this statement Friday:
“I’m disappointed that we’re in this situation when both parties should have been able to resolve this matter weeks ago. We need to do more on the border – including funding for more physical barriers along with more border agents and more technology such as drones and surveillance. Additionally, I believe that we should not have these shutdowns, because it inevitably costs taxpayers more money once the government reopens. That’s why I re-introduced the End Government Shutdowns Act that will create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill or existing continuing resolution to ensure the federal government remains open when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines. Regardless, I hope both sides will come together and resolve this matter quickly.”
Several protesters at the rally said these bills showed promise, even if Portman had failed to earn their trust in the past.
“I do feel Senator Portman is giving it a good go. I do feel that Mitch McConnell is in the way and that there are lots of senators out there, republican and of course democrat that want to get this resolved,” said Jan Kennedy, a state work that was at the rally to support federal workers.
Senator Sherrod Brown’s office shared that he will be reviewing Portman’s bills. They also say, while Brown does not support shutting down the government he does support securing the border and taking care of those protected by DACA.
Friday afternoon, members of congress left D.C. for the weekend without a deal in place to fully reopen the government.