Schumer bringing air traffic controller who worked without pay during shutdown to State of the Union

Schumer bringing air traffic controller who worked without pay during shutdown to State of the Union
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that he is bringing an air traffic controller who worked without pay during the 35-day partial government shutdown as his guest to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE's State of the Union address.

Schumer, in a statement, said he would be bringing Ronan Byrne, an air traffic controller from Long Island and father of four who worked without pay for weeks during the recent shutdown. 

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Schumer said that Byrne will be his guest "to shed further light on how these employees and their families were the true victims of the counterproductive shutdown."

“Even in the face of uncertainty over when they’d receive their next paychecks or how they’d pay their bills and feed their families, federal employees like Ronan Byrne dutifully showed up for work, each and every day," Schumer said, noting that Byrne has four children. 

"Air traffic controllers throughout our country deserve a stable income to perform their essential jobs — with the highest level of concentration and dedication — to ensure public safety for the millions Americans who fly each day," Schumer added.

Byrne said in a statement that he is urging Congress and the Trump administration to avert another shutdown.

"I’m proud to be here urging Congress and the administration to keep the government fully funded and open on behalf of the employees at NY TRACON who have already endured the personal hardships of the previous shutdown,” Byrne said, referring to New York Terminal Radar Approach Control.

Byrne was among the roughly 800,000 federal workers who were furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown, which began on Dec. 22 amid an impasse between Trump and lawmakers over the president's demands for $5.7 billion in border wall funding.

Trump ended the shutdown late last month by signing a short-term funding bill that didn't include wall funding. That bill keeps the government open until Feb. 15, giving the president and Congress until then to reach a deal and avoid another shutdown.