Lawmaker Gives Updates On Shutdown, County Airport

Sen. Chuck Schumer visited the National Comedy Center on Friday. There, he pushed for legislation to recognize the institution nationally. He also fielded questions about the government shutdown and the status of the Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

With another government shutdown looming, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY and Senate minority leader, said the likelihood of it happening is “small.”

The previous shutdown lasted almost two months making it the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. History. The closing left 800,000 federal workers without a paycheck and on the verge of missing a second prior to President Donald Trump signing legislation opening the government until Feb. 15.

Now under a week out from the deadline, Schumer believes another shutdown can be averted.

“There’s good news” Schumer said during his address at the National Comedy Center on Friday. “The democrats and republicans in the House (of Representatives) and Senate are getting very close to an agreement.”

Schumer said the original shutdown was a “huge mistake.” Schumer said he was against the shutdown from the beginning largely in part to the residual effects on innocent Americans. The initial shutdown was prompted by budget disputes over funding for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“My message to everybody: Don’t hold these innocent workers who work so hard for us as hostage for anything,” he said. “If you have disagreements, try to work them out, but don’t say, ‘Well, I’m not going to pay these folks. I’m not going to do all the things that have to be done unless I get my way.’ Neither democrats, republicans, Congress or the President should do that.”

SeeWhen asked about how the federal workers should prepare or react if another shutdown happens, Schumer simply said “I don’t think they will be. That’s the point.”

In other news, Schumer also addressed the status of granting the Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown with receivership of Essential Air Service subsidies. Due to a lack of flights, the airport did not qualify for the service. Southern Airways Express had it’s EAS subsidies removed after its low flight and passenger frequency. Boutique Air is newest airline service to apply to serve the airport.

“You need a certain number of flights and we fell slightly below it,” Schumer said.

Schumer, responding to a question about Trump’s recent comment about New Yorkers leaving Upstate New York, asked the President for help in situations like with the airport.

The senator said he is looking into getting the local airport a waiver to qualify despite the low numbers.

“I’ve been able to do that in the past,” he said.