WASHINGTON—In response to the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer helped negotiate a deal with the White House and Senate Republicans to end the longest government shutdown in American history, AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement:
“Let this be the last time any elected official uses our federal public workers as political pawns. This shutdown took our country to the brink of a very real aviation crisis and economic crisis, with terrible harm inflicted on hundreds of thousands of proud working families who needed food banks to feed their kids, and loans to make their rent or mortgage payments. The negative ripple effects for millions of Americans were increasingly obvious with every passing moment of this 34-day shutdown.
“The deal to reopen our government and end this useless shutdown is a victory for sanity and a very real reminder: Our government services and the people who provide them are critically important. Any attempt to hold them hostage over political ideology is wrong and dangerous.
“We are glad that Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer understood this was much bigger then a debate over a wall, that it was about our functioning as a democratic society. We are grateful for the bipartisan push in a divided Washington to finally open the government, and that President Trump finally came to his senses.
“Now it’s time to get back to the business of governing. And while many of the issues that Congress and the president address are important—including border security—they must proceed without ever again using our federal employees and contractors as their collateral.”