“It’s a bunch of 2-year-olds, you know? Let’s figure out border security, and let’s get people to work, and let’s let the State of the Union take place like it always does.”
A moderate Republican just elected to a second term in Maryland, Hogan has taken to the national stage in recent weeks to call for an end to the bitter polarization of Washington politics. He has also been vocal in demanding an end to the shutdown, citing its strong negative impact in his state.
On Thursday, Hogan greeted Transportation Security Administration agents, Homeland Security workers and air traffic controllers at Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall airport and unveiled new efforts to help the more than 150,000 federal employees from Maryland who have now gone four weeks without a paycheck.
Hogan said those workers can now get free fares on state mass transit, discounts on gas and late-fee waivers from utility providers.
As he walked from checkpoint to checkpoint, Hogan told bag screeners and security officers the state would “back you up in whatever way we can.”
“This shutdown is impacting the security of our nation,” the governor said. “It is impacting the economy of Maryland, and most importantly, it’s impacting the lives of tens of thousands of our Maryland citizens.”
Transportation Security Pete K. Rahn said he has urged WMATA chief Paul J. Wiedefeld to match Maryland’s offer for free rides on its rail systems. In Maryland, workers will have to show their federal identification badges to receive the waiver.
The state is also organizing a food drive with nonprofit partners, Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank, to help federal workers feed their families. Hogan called on all state employees and the private sector to donate to the food drive and support the workers. Public utility companies and the petroleum industry also vowed to waive certain fees and give gas card discounts to federal workers.
The governor said the state is working with banks, lenders and insurance companies to give workers relief from payments or deferral until the shutdown ends and paychecks are issued.
Asked what he was doing to continue communicating his concerns to political leaders in Washington, Hogan said he would be attending the annual Alfalfa Club dinner for political insiders in Washington Saturday night and expected to sit at a table with the president.