A short-lived federal government shutdown ended this morning, hours after it had started as President Donald Trump signed off on a $400 billion budget deal. The Senate advanced the measure in a 71-28 vote, and the House approved the bill in a 240-186 vote.
Representative Colleen Hanabusa called the two-year bill an “imperfect but necessary compromise” saying Congress must provide our military the predictable financial resources it needs to accomplish its mission. Hawaiʻi is home to over 33,000 federal civilian employees, of which approximately 16,500 work in the armed services.
Congresswoman Hanabusa released provided further explanation for her support:
“In addition to a two-year defense budget, the legislation that passed tonight funds non-defense programs that support our communities, veterans, education, healthcare, children and infrastructure at a level $177 billion higher than the Trump administration requested for the current fiscal year, requiring the budget deal to suspend the budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 for two years.”
“While I am sincerely disappointed we were unable to reach a comprehensive agreement to protect the DREAMERS and restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, I am optimistic the Senate and House will move forward with immigration bills that will protect an estimated 800,000 DREAMERS from deportation and fix DACA. I remain committed to this cause and my support for the military, our federal civilian employees and domestic programs does not diminish my resolve to protect DREAMERS and restore DACA.”
US Senator Brian Schatz said the deal “provides relief from sequester cuts and lays a clear path to restore the appropriations process that Hawaiʻi depends upon.” It invests in health care, including children’s health insurance, telehealth, and the 14 federally-funded community health centers across Hawai‘i. He continued saying:
“This deal puts us in a place to be able to fund infrastructure projects, Native Hawaiian programs, clean energy, university research, and invasive species programs. And it fulfills our promise to veterans by putting money toward rebuilding crumbling VA hospitals and clinics. With this bipartisan deal, we can begin to bring down the backlog of construction projects in the VA’s capital investment plan, so that we can finally make progress toward a long-overdue community-based outpatient clinic in Hilo and replacement clinic in Kona.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to make these investments a reality for communities in Hawai‘i and across the country.”
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi) was among those who voted against the budget deal and continuing resolution saying:
“Throughout the debate on government spending, I have consistently supported efforts to fund critical domestic priorities without pitting groups against one another. A lot of hard work and compromise went into this budget deal, which includes a number of provisions I strongly support. However, Dreamers were left out of the bill to allow this deal to go forward. I voted against this legislation because Dreamers are not included in it. An overwhelming majority of the public supports legislation to protect Dreamers, and Democrats will be fighting hard for them during the upcoming debate on immigration.”
Here on Maui, Haleakalā National Park is open for sunrise to visitors who have a valid sunrise reservation. That notification was issued ahead of the overnight shutdown in government operations in anticipation of potential outcomes.