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Sherrod Brown Says Trump 'Betrayed American Workers' With Shutdown

Sen. Sherrod Brown
Andrew Harnik
Associated Press

Three weeks into the partial federal shutdown, President Trump’s Tuesday night address from the Oval Office offered no indication the government would reopen soon. His tactics have drawn mixed reaction from Ohio’s Congressional delegation.

In a Cincinnati Enquirer op-ed column Wednesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) criticized Trump’s “temper tantrum” over border funding.

Trump has insisted any funding bill must include $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, but Brown says discussions over border security should be separate so federal employees can get back to work.

“This government shutdown is the latest example of how President Donald Trump has overlooked, ignored and betrayed American workers,” Brown wrote. “Nearly 800,000 federal employees are going without a paycheck."

Federal workers have been off the job for 19 days.

“Perhaps the greatest pain from the president’s temper tantrum will fall on the lowest-wage workers who are invisible to this president,” Brown wrote.

Brown is currently considering a run for president in 2020.

Ahead of Trump’s speech, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) spoke out against the possibility of Trump declaring a “national emergency” to secure border wall funding. Portman argued the border is a serious problem and does require more funding.

"But my hope is that the president doesn’t go the national emergency route because he doesn’t have to, because instead we’re able to reach an agreement to resolve some of these issues,” Portman said.

Brown said he talked with constituents Tuesday at Hopkins Airport in Cleveland, and most told him they don’t think a wall is the best option to secure the border. Brown is encouraging constituents to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to break the impasse.

“They also know that this is not a national emergency – it’s a fixable problem that the president created, but if the president’s not going to fix it, then Sen. McConnell has got to come to the Senate floor and bring this up and let us vote overwhelmingly, then have the House vote, and then override the veto," Brown said.

Portman said DACA could provide a strong negotiating point for Trump. The program, also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protects immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The Trump administration attempted to end DACA, but federal courts have blocked the move.

Brown said he is working on legislation to provide back pay to federal workers after the government reopens.