New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed strong words against the current government shutdown. She used her inaugural speech to condemn the move.
Ocasio-Cortez spoke in front of the Madam Speaker on Wednesday for nearly three minutes. In that time, she related the story of a Yemeni immigrant and how the government shutdown has affected him.
The new senator gave a story about the Air Traffic Controller Supervisor working at John F Kennedy international airport. Ocasio-Cortez related his sentiments of having a stressful job.
She informed listeners that the American resident, a father of two, had missed his first paycheck last week as a result of the shutdown.
She then went on to say that "federal workers' jobs are stressful enough. The rise in New York city's cost of living is stressful enough. The fact that Mr. Opez' family cannot be reunified over fears due to the Muslim ban is stressful enough."
Ocasio-Cortez went onto say:
"It's actually not about a wall, it is not about the border, and it is certainly not about the well-being of everyday Americans."
"The truth of this shutdown is that it's actually not about a wall... The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms."
Then she added:
"It is not normal to hold 800,000 workers' paychecks hostage. It is not normal to shut down the government when we don't get what we want. And it is certainly not normal to starve the people we serve for a proposal that is wildly unpopular among the American people."
She then concluded by highlighting Trump's role and responsibility in the well-being of the American people.
"President Trump has a responsibility to all air traffic controllers, FDA inspectors, TSA workers. And he has a responsibility to maintain the basic functioning of the United States government."
Earlier that day, Ocasio-Cortez searched the Capitol with other Democrats. The group was looking for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel to hand-deliver him a letter.
The letter addressed the shutdown. More specifically, it urged McConnell to end it. Yet they were unable to locate him.
Earlier this week, Ann Coulter also commented on Trump regarding the border wall. She described him as being "dead in the water" if the wall wasn't built.
The public figure told HBO's "Vice News Tonights" that she supported the shutdown since it forces people to discuss immigration.
The current shutdown is the longest in American history thus far. It has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees without compensation or furloughed.
Coulter is in full support, however. She said:
“More Americans die from drug overdose every year than died in the entire course of the Vietnam War, and the vast majority of those drugs are being brought in because we have a wide open border. I care more about that than I care about the Yosemite gift shop being open."
Trump is hoping that the shutdown will force Democrats' hand to cover the $5.7 billion budget he is demanding to build the wall. Meanwhile, airports are being largely affected by the lack of pay to workers.
A report says that 6.8 percent of TSA agents took unscheduled absences in mid-January. This number is significantly higher than the corresponding period last year.
Leaders like Ocasio-Cortez are doing their best, but the weight of the shutdown is growing. And Ocasio-Cortez is herself being warned.
On January 12, "The View's" Whoopi Goldberg addressed the young Congresswoman regarding her outspokenness in the political arena.
“You just got there, and I know you have lots of good ideas, but I would encourage you to sit still for a minute and learn the job. Because there are people in that party who have been working their tails off for that country and you can learn some stuff from them.”
Ocasio-Cortez has yet to respond to Goldberg's advice. Clearly, she is focusing on other matters she considers more pressing.