Downtown Rally Urges End to Gov't Shutdown

Calls on Senator Toomey to Break With Trump

Joe DeStio
January 22, 2019 - 3:24 pm
 Several dozen demonstrators took to the street in front of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s office to urge him to vote to end the partial federal government shutdown.

Joe DeStio

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Several dozen demonstrators took to the street in front of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s office to urge him to vote to end the partial federal government shutdown. But members of various labor unions, several Democratic elected officials, and benefit recipients said they don’t want a $5.7 billion border wall as a trade-off.

“To hold workers hostage, to literally take food off their table because they can’t get the votes to build a wall that we don’t need,” said Sam Williamson who heads the Service Employees International Union Local 32-BJ. Williamson says many S.E.I.U. members have been laid off because they work for federal contractors who aren’t getting paid. He says those workers are unlikely to get any back pay.

The rally, in front of Toomey’s Grant Street office, was orderly but loud. Elected leaders who spoke included State Senator Jay Costa of Forest Hills and State Representative Ed Gainey of Pittsburgh.

Stephanie Fellow says she works for Giant Eagle and receives federal food benefits through the Women, Infants, and Children Program as a breast feeding mother. “These programs are crucial and we need them. We do not need you holding us hostage for a $5 billion wall,” said Fellow.

Senator Toomey has said, “President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in border security funding is reasonable and certainly deserved a counter proposal, at the very least,” according to a statement.