Transcript: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks on the government shutdown – Oct. 4, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the government shutdown on Oct. 4, 2013:

Last night, the President announced that he wasn’t taking the trip to Asia for the two summits that he had. The shutdown is obviously unfair to the American people, embarrassing to the American people, especially on the world stage… [The President] is being hamstrung in his efforts to keep America competitive and secure because Republicans simply are unwilling to allow us to open the government. It’s kind of a basic function of what we do – allow the government to move forward.

The shutdown is hurting our economy. I had a long telephonic conversation today with elected officials in Nevada, state and local officials. They’re really concerned. The state of Nevada is losing its revenues as a result of this shutdown as all states are losing revenues.

This though is not just an economic issue. It’s also an issue about national security.

The government shutdown is hurting our ability to enforce the sanctions on Iran, to gather intelligence, to operate our armed forces just to name a few.

The Treasury Department has furloughed 90% of the employees in the office of terrorism financing and intelligence. That’s their charge, and they’re unable to fulfill that.

Of the 175 employees of the United States government sanctions monitoring agency, there’s only 11 out of 175 that are working today.

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said – and I quote – “Our ability to enforce sanctions to stop sanction evaders is being hampered significantly by the shutdown.”

72% of the intelligence community’s civilian workforce has been idled by the government shutdown. Listen to this everyone. When I was shown these figures this morning, it was really incredible what’s happened. 900 Ph.D.s, 4,000 computer scientists, and 1,000 mathematicians not working.

Even prior to the shutdown, the Director of the FBI James Comey warned that his agency would have to implement furlough days just to meet the painful sequester. Now, it’s worse than that. There’s workers still going to work at the FBI without pay.

Chief of Staff retired [sic] Ray Odierno has said the shutdown impact significantly day-to-day operations in the Army…The longer it goes on, he said, the worse it gets. Everyday that goes by, we’re losing manpower. We’re losing capability.

So everyday these courageous brave men and women coming to work, putting their lives on the line and are doing so without pay.

Yesterday, we witnessed an event here on Capitol Hill. For 16 blocks – remember those blocks – weapons were being discharged, 17 to 20 bullets? A number of those people are working without pay.

So Speaker [John] Boehner could end this Republican shutdown today if he chose. He’s sitting on the one bill that can end the shutdown, refusing to let the House vote.

Again, let’s remind everyone why. For a while, the Republicans tried to cover up why they were closing the government and threatening to not extend the debt: Obamacare.

So I say to my friend, John Boehner: It’s not about you. It’s not about Harry Reid. It’s about our country, about our national security. Do the right thing for the men and women we represent. End the shutdown now.



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3 Comments on “Transcript: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks on the government shutdown – Oct. 4, 2013

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