Roe: 'Literally the shutdown to me makes no sense at all'

Hank Hayes • Jan 17, 2019 at 5:30 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe on Thursday called the partial federal government shutdown a political game that needs to end and could be solved in five minutes.

Roe also disclosed he has signed a letter refusing his Congressional paycheck as long as the shutdown goes on.

“Literally the shutdown to me makes no sense at all. You get the four (Congressional) leaders in the room and I think the president has made the case for border security,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a conference call with reporters.

Roe said past investments in a southern border wall during President Bill Clinton’s administration dramatically deterred illegal immigration. There are about 650 miles of barriers now at the border. The Veterans Administration and military are not affected by the shutdown, Roe added.

President Trump’s border security proposal, Roe noted, not only called for a border wall but also more immigration judges, more law enforcement personnel and more humanitarian aid.

Roe also addressed these questions:

What in the First Congressional District is being impacted by the partial shutdown?

“You’ve got TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for one. Our TSA agents are working out at Tri-Cities Airport, and they are not getting paid and they should be. The (Great Smoky Mountains National) park, we have some issues. The trash is being picked up. The Friends of the Smokies are working on that. The park is open. We have 11 million people who visit that park every year. We passed a bill guaranteeing backpay for anyone who was furloughed or coming in and working for no pay.”

What did you think about what happened to Rep. Steve King about his committee assignments being taken away? Do you think he should resign?

“That might be decided by the voters in his district and not by me. I can tell you I think our leadership, and I’ve talked to (House GOP Leader) Kevin McCarthy about this, they did what they had to do. There were statements out there that were inappropriate. I know Steve King very well. … He has made statements that’s not what he intended. If you ask me if I agree with it, I do.”

You already have an opponent (Democrat Chris Rowe) for the next election. Did that surprise you?

“In less than six months, we will be in full-blown presidential election mode. … I was a little surprised it was that early. … Apparently I delivered him (Roe is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist).”

What did you think of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s letter to the president asking him to delay his State of the Union address?

“We’re going to have the State of the Union (address). We’re already planning it. It’s going to occur. (The delay) is not going to happen. It’s just another smokescreen.”

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