After the Shutdown – Reflecting on 2018
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FEBRUARY 5, 2019
After 35 days, the longest government shutdown in American history finally came to end on January 25. However, its effects are still being felt in Rhode Island and across the country. 800,000 federal workers were either furloughed or required to work without compensation. Millions of Americans who rely on government services, such as home buyers and small business owners, also felt the sting of the shutdown.
This shutdown was unnecessary and did not result in funding to build a wall as the President intended. However, with the government temporarily funded through February 15, I am hopeful that negotiations can proceed in good faith and we can find common ground on the very important issue of border security.
Starting a new session of Congress during a shutdown did not provide much time for reflection. With this episode behind us, hopefully for good, I wanted to take an opportunity to look back at the past year. 2018 had its fair share of challenges, but I am proud of what we were able to accomplish.
I am thrilled to report that my dedicated team of constituent service representatives closed 671 cases, helping residents across the Second District resolve issues with the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies. Through our efforts, we secured $2,009,309 in federal benefits and savings for Rhode Islanders last year. I also assisted several organizations applying for federal grants; in fact, more than $245 million in federal grants were awarded to the Second District and Rhode Island statewide agencies.
In addition to assisting constituents in Rhode Island, I authored 50 pieces of legislation and co-sponsored an additional 438 bills and resolutions throughout the two years of the 115th Congress. Modernizing career and technical education, strengthening national security and cybersecurity, and fighting for our veterans and people with disabilities were among my top priorities and accomplishments.
While I am required to spend a large portion of the year in Washington, I always try to maximize my time in Rhode Island. This year, I attended hundreds of events across the state and hosted 16 public forums, including my quarterly «Lunch with Langevin» program.
With 2018 in the rearview mirror we have the opportunity to work together to make real progress. Despite its rocky start, I remain hopeful that 2019 will be a year where Congress renews its commitment to governing for the people.