RELEASE: Abraham Misses Votes to Re-Open Government and Pay Louisiana Workers So That He Can Fundraise

//RELEASE: Abraham Misses Votes to Re-Open Government and Pay Louisiana Workers So That He Can Fundraise
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 11th, 2019
Contact: Eric Holl
eric@lademo.org

BREAKING: Abraham Misses Votes to Re-Open Government and Pay Louisiana Workers So That He Can Fundraise

This morning, the U.S. House voted on legislation to re-open government and ensure federal workers get their back pay when government re-opens. Rep. Ralph Abraham chose to miss those votes in order to hold a $5,000-a-ticket fundraiser behind closed doors for his gubernatorial campaign. This failure to do his basic duty and show up to vote proved what Rep. Abraham has admitted; while running for governor he can’t and won’t focus on his job in Congress.

The people being punished by the shutdown are those who least deserve it and can least afford it. They’re our farmers, Coast Guardsmen, law enforcement personnel, domestic abuse victims and small business people. Thousands of them are suffering, and Rep. Abraham doesn’t seem to care.

This is not normal. Rep Abraham today was the first member of Louisiana’s congressional delegation to miss a vote during the shutdown.

“On a day thousands of Louisianans are missing their first paychecks thanks to the government shutdown, Rep. Abraham is choosing to host a $5,000-a-ticket-fundraiser for a statewide campaign instead of doing his job and voting. He doesn’t seem to care that Louisianans, including many who don’t work for the government, are being punished severely by this shutdown. Rep. Abraham needs to stop worrying about trying to get a new job and do the one he has,” said Eric Holl, spokesman for Victory 2019, the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

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BACKGROUND ON REP. ABRAHAM MISSING VOTES TO ATTEND FUNDRAISERS

TODAY, REP. ABRAHAM MISSED VOTES TO RE-OPEN GOVERNMENT AND ENSURE LOUISIANA’S FEDERAL EMPLOYEES EVENTUALLY GET THEIR PAY

Today, January 11th: Rep. Abraham Is Holding A $5,000-Per-Ticket Fundraiser In Alexandria, La. According to Elizabeth Crisp of the Advocate, Rep. Abraham scheduled a fundraiser for his gubernatorial campaign on Friday, January 11th. It was scheduled to be held in Alexandria, Louisiana, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Red River Bank Building. The “suggested contribution” was $5,000. [Elizabeth Crisp Twitter, 1/9/19]

Today, January 11th: Rep. Abraham Was Absent For A U.S. House Vote To Re-Open Government. According to the U.S. House Clerk, Rep. Abraham was absent for the January 11, 2019 vote on a bill titled “Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.” [U.S. House Clerk, Roll Call 27, 1/11/19]

Today, January 11th: Rep. Abraham Was Absent For A U.S. House Vote On A Bipartisan Bill To Ensure Federal Employees—Including Coast Guardsmen—Receive Back Pay When Government Eventually Re-Opens. According to the U.S. House Clerk, Rep. Abraham was absent for the January 11, 2019 vote on the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act. [U.S. House Clerk, Roll Call 28, 1/11/19]

ON DECEMBER 19TH, REP. ABRAHAM MISSED 10 VOTES IN THE U.S. HOUSE BUT ATTENDED A FUNDRAISER FOR HIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN

Rep. Abraham Attended A Fundraiser For His Gubernatorial Campaign In Richland Parish On December 19thAccording to KNOE, Rep. Abraham held a fundraiser for his gubernatorial campaign in Delhi on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018. [KNOE, 12/19/18]

Rep. Abraham Missed 10 Votes In The U.S. House On December 19thAccording to the U.S. House Clerk, Rep. Abraham was absent for all 10 U.S. House floor votes on December 19th. [U.S. House Roll Call Votes 436 through 445, 12/19/18]

On December 19th, Rep. Abraham Missed Votes On The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act, And Others. According to the U.S. House Clerk, Rep. Abraham was absent for votes on the following bills; Museum and Library Services Act, Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, To direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain facilities, easements, and rights-of-way to the Kennewick Irrigation District, and for other purposes, National Quantum Initiative Act, Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, SECURE Technology Act, State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act, BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimers Act, Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act, Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017. [U.S. House Roll Call Votes 436 through 445, 12/19/18]

ABRAHAM HAS ADMITTED HE CAN’T FOCUS ON HIS JOB IN DC WHILE RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR

Last Month: Abraham Said He Wasn’t Ready To Start A Run For Governor: “My Focus Right Now Is On My Job.” “Meanwhile, Abraham, a Republican from Alto, said Monday his final decision will be coming “very soon.” “Louisiana needs a strong leader who can take on the challenges we face, and our great state just isn’t getting that with the current governor,” said Abraham, 64. “There are several must-pass bills facing Congress in the next two weeks, and my focus right now is on my job.”” [The Advocate, 12/3/18]

BACKGROUND ON THE IMPACT OF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IN LOUISIANA

THE SHUTDOWN IS FORCING THOUSANDS OF LOUISIANANS TO GO WITHOUT PAY

USA Today Headline: Today should be payday for thousands of government workers. But the shutdown means they’re not getting paid. [USA Today, 1/11/19]

800,000 Federal Employees Nationwide Won’t Get Their Expected Paychecks Today. “For McLaurin and thousands of other federal employees across the country, Friday is the day when the partial federal government shutdown officially hits their pocketbooks. It was supposed to be payday. But paychecks are on hold for some 800,000 federal employees forced to go on unpaid leave or work without pay since Dec. 22 because of the government shutdown.” [USA Today, 1/11/19]

 

Nearly 6,000 Louisiana Federal Employees Are Going Without Pay During The Shutdown. “In Louisiana, 6,000 people work at federal agencies hit by the shutdown, including Coast Guard rescuers, TSA employees at airports in the state, many workers at NASA’s Michoud campus in New Orleans and hundreds Department of Agricultural staffers who work nearby, according to estimates by Governing magazine. Of those federal employees, 5,858 are currently going without pay, according to figures provided by Richmond’s congressional office.” [The Advocate, 1/11/19]

THE SHUTDOWN COULD DELAY TAX REFUNDS

Barron’s Headline: “Tax Refunds During the Shutdown? The White House Says Yes, but Don’t Count on It.” [Barron’s, 1/8/19]

Barron’s: “How Likely Is It That Taxpayers Will Get Their Refunds If The Shutdown Drags On For A Few More Weeks—Or Even Months? Not Very Likely.” “But how likely is it that taxpayers will get their refunds if the shutdown drags on for a few more weeks—or even months? Not very likely. For starters, it’s a legal gray zone whether refunds can be processed during a shutdown. Without an approved budget or Congressional funding for the Treasury Department, the IRS may not be allowed to issue checks. That was the IRS’s legal interpretation during prior shutdowns.” [Barron’s, 1/8/19]

THE SHUTDOWN IS HURTING LOUISIANA MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

Fox 8 New Orleans: “An Estimated Half Of The Coast Guard Employees Here Are Not Showing Up Since Their Pay Was Cut Off Nov. 18.” “The shutdown’s impacts are showing up in Federal Court and Coast Guard operations in New Orleans, where dozens of employees are staying home. […] An estimated half of the Coast Guard employees here are not showing up since their pay was cut off Nov. 18.” [Fox 8, 1/9/19]

The Civil Division Of The New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s Office Was Closed, And Pay Would Run Out For Workers In The Criminal Division By Mid-January. “Meantime, the civil division of the U.S. attorney’s office is closed, with eight attorneys and 10 support workers going without pay because they are considered non-essential. But U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser said the work of the criminal division goes on at least until next Friday, since it is considered essential. That’s when some pay may run out for dozens of Justice Department workers, as it has for more than 5,000 federal workers statewide and 800,000 across the U.S.” [Fox 8, 1/9/19]

The Government Shutdown “Compounded The Significant Delays” That Already Existed In Federal Immigration Court In New Orleans. “His case is one of dozens that have been postponed indefinitely since the partial shutdown of the federal government forced the closure of immigration courts across the United States. These courts handle thousands of cases of undocumented individuals who are not being held in immigration detention facilities. Immigration attorneys say that the shutdown of the federal government has compounded the significant delays already being experienced in the immigration court system.” [Times Picayune, 1/9/19]

THE SHUTDOWN IS HURTING LOUISIANA’S SMALL BUSINESSES

The Shutdown Held Up Reimbursements To Local Banks And Agencies Assisting Small Businesses. “With the Small Business Administration sidelined because of the government shutdown, some local banks and agencies assisting small business owners are negatively impacted. ‘So far it’s holding up the reimbursement on our SBA’s Women’s Business Center Grant, so that’s a grant that operates in reimbursement. We spend the money first, they pay us back. So we are overdue for fourth quarter release of funds, which was due to come out in December,’ said Good Work Network Executive Director Hermione Malone.” [Fox8, 1/4/19]

THE SHUTDOWN IS HURTING LOUISIANA FARMERS

The Government Shutdown Impacted A Program Allowing Farmers To Apply For Payments From The Agriculture Department, Which Allowed Them To Offset $11 Billion In Tariffs Impact. “The deadline is one more casualty of a partial government shutdown that has put numerous agency programs on hold and has left 800,000 federal employees working without pay or not working at all. The Market Facilitation Program allows farmers to apply for payments from the Agriculture Department in order to offset an estimated $11 billion impact of ‘illegal tariffs’ other countries have imposed on US agricultural exports. The exports have been a prime target of China and other countries that have retaliated against a series of tariffs Trump imposed earlier in 2018.” [CNN, 1/8/19]

Farmers Could Not Take Out Crop Insurance During The Shutdown. “Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain lays it on the line.  Dr. Strain says all Farm Service Agency offices are closed in Louisiana. […] ‘If you haven’t’ taken out your crop insurance, then you cant’ take it our right now,’ Dr. Strain notes.” [KLFY, 1/8/19]

Trade Promotion Funds Were Frozen During The Government Shutdown. “The commissioner says trade promotions funds have been frozen along with money for the 2nd payment to offset tariffs. ‘Again the money is in the treasury but there’s nobody there to write the checks.’” [KLFY, 1/8/19]

Temporary Laborer Visa Programs Were Frozen During The Shutdown. “Also, Strains says the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for temporary laborers has been frozen.” [KLFY, 1/8/19]

During The Shutdown, The Farm Service Agency Was Closed, Leading To Fears Farmers Would Lose Benefits If They Could Not Access Insurance, Grants, And Loans. “Acadiana farmers are watching the government shutdown closely because the shutdown could hurt their bottom line. ‘We need FSA back up and running after the first of the year,’ sugarcane farmer Ricky Gonsoulin said. ‘So we can report our acres and get some accurate numbers on crop productions so we can report those accordingly.’ Farmers like Gonsoulin rely on those reports to get insurance, grants and loans through the Farm Service Agency. With FSA offices close, farmers can’t send in their data which could lead to them losing their benefits.” [KATC, 1/8/19]

THE SHUTDOWN IS HURTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN LOUISIANA

Some Louisiana Domestic Violence Shelters Stopped Receiving Federal Funds During The Shutdown. “With the government shutdown entering its third week some shelters for domestic violence victims are not receiving federal funds. ‘It is absolutely affecting people and some really crucial residents in the community,’ Nicole Lopez of Faith House said. Shelters like Faith House rely on government funding to keep the doors open.” [KATC, 1/7/19]

Congress Failed To Renew The Violence Against Women Act Before The Government Shutdown, Endangering Dozens Of Programs Meant To Help Victims Of Domestic Violence Across Louisiana. “In the wake of the partial government shutdown, dozens of programs across Louisiana, meant to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, face an uncertain future. That’s because Congress failed to renew the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, and its funding before the government shutdown last month.” [KSLA, 1/4/19]

THE SHUTDOWN IS HURTING LOUISIANA’S TRAVEL, TOURISM AND EVENTS

Headline: “TSA lines up 300% at some airports due to government shutdown.” [KATC, 1/9/19]

Headline: “Local aviation safety inspector on shutdown: ‘There is no oversight of the industry right now.’” [WDSU, 1/10/19]

A Local Aviation Safety Inspector Said There Was “No Oversight” Of The Industry During The Shutdown, Which Meant “An Extra Layer Of Security” Was Currently Not Present. “A local aviation safety inspector and an air traffic controller are speaking out about the massive impact of the partial federal government shutdown. ‘There is no oversight of the industry right now,’ Laennec Ratard, a local aviation safety inspector, said. Ratard said federal inspectors,including him, come to airports, including Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, when needed. They serve as an extra layer of security, which for now is not present.” [WDSU, 1/10/19]

 

Headline: “Our Views: Battle of New Orleans reenactment’s relocation the latest casualty of absurd shutdown.” [The Advocate, Editorial, 1/9/19]

The Advocate: Due To The Government Shutdown, The Chalmette Battlefield Was Closed, Scrambling Plans For The Battle Of New Orleans Reenactment. “That victory over the British, which helped put Jackson in the White House, is remembered each year through a reenactment at Chalmette Battlefield, but plans for this month’s program have been scrambled by the partial shutdown of the federal government. The Chalmette historical site is operated by the National Park Service, which is essentially closed for business while Trump bickers with Congress over funding for a border wall with Mexico — a project candidate Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for. Security is important, but key parts of the border are already protected by a wall. As the shutdown languishes in its third week, and the Chalmette Battlefield is closed, local residents will do a scaled-down version of the reenactment of the Battle of New Orleans near a Walmart Supercenter.” [The Advocate, Editorial, 1/9/19]

By |2019-01-25T19:55:49+00:00January 11th, 2019|Press Releases|Comments Off on RELEASE: Abraham Misses Votes to Re-Open Government and Pay Louisiana Workers So That He Can Fundraise