Metro-East News

As shutdown dragged on, and Trump’s polling went down, Bost stuck with president

As the 35-day partial federal government shutdown went-on, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, stuck with President Donald Trump.

Bost, who won re-election in November, stuck with the president who had visited his district twice in 2018, helping his campaign.

On Friday, President Donald Trump revealed that he and congressional leaders had a deal to reopen the federal government for three weeks, which sets up the possibility of another showdown over funding for the president’s proposed border wall.

“This shutdown never would have happened had both parties shown an equal willingness to work together and secure the border,” Bost said. Friday. “I agree with the administration’s decision to reopen the government, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues turning her back on bipartisan negotiations.

“I’m pleased that our federal workers will begin to receive their paychecks again and that full government services will be made available again to the American people. These hardworking men and women didn’t deserve to have their financial well-being held hostage. This short-term agreement allows time to recognize the importance of working together on this critical national security issue, hopefully ensuring that we can both fund the government and secure the border into the future.”

According to public polling, most Americans blame Trump for the shutdown.

“As far as your polling, that’s national polling. Not my district polling,” Bost said. “My district polling is continuing to do right about 50 percent or little more towards the president. My job is to represent my district but to represent the nation. I want to make sure these people go back to work.”

“This last election. It wasn’t a mandate against Trump, it was a mandate to work together,” Bost said. “And as of right now, Nancy Pelosi is not bargaining at all, and this is an issues she’s voted for before.”

The day before the president’s announcement, the Senate voted on two measures to reopen the government, one backed by Democrats without $5.7 billion for a southern border barrier, and a Republican plan with money allocated to fund President Donald Trump’s central campaign promise.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., gestures as he speaks to his supporters with his wife, Tracy, beside him during an election night rally at the Elks Lodge in Murphysboro. Stephen Lance Dennee AP

The Republican proposal included extended protections for immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Neither bill received the necessary 60 votes to move forward.

More than 450,000 federal employees worked without getting paid, including TSA agents, air traffic controllers and corrections officers.

An additional 380,000 employees in the federal government have been furloughed.

Trump said Friday the federal employees would receive back pay.

Bost said he voted on several occasions to get federal workers paid during the shutdown, while not necessarily funding the agency.

He said paying the employees but not necessarily funding those agencies would still push the elected officials to come to the table, “but we’re not making people suffer because of it.”

After Thursday’s votes, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, again objected to the U.S. paying for a wall along the southern border and said it was an ineffective way to secure the border.

“For 35 days, Donald Trump has caused serious damage to our country by holding the paychecks of more than 800,000 federal workers and contractors hostage and disrupting critical government functions,” Duckworth said. “I hope today’s announcement, which is similar to the deal Trump rejected in December, means that this ridiculous and unnecessary government shutdown will end immediately.”

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.