Kamala Harris Invited A Federal Worker Hit By The Shutdown To The State Of The Union

by Chelsea Stewart
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The 2019 State of the Union is getting closer. On Feb. 5, hundreds of people will pour into the House Chamber to hear President Trump's agenda for his third year in office, from politicians like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) to everyday people. Speaking of the senator, you might be wondering: Who is Kamala Harris guest at the 2019 State of the Union? TBH, the guest has got a really powerful story.

Typically, the president and congressional members invite guests whose lives reflect policy issues or key stances they support, and this year Harris is sticking to tradition. She reportedly chose Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, a woman who lost her home in California's Thomas Fire, which ripped through the state for more than six months, CNN reported. Even sadder is that Pesiri-Dybvik and her husband are air traffic controllers who were affected by the recent partial government shutdown, which lasted for more than a month and stemmed from a stalemate between President Trump and Congress over funding for a wall at the United States southern border.

In an interview with Elle, Pesiri-Dybvik said that she and her husband were in the process of rebuilding their lives after the fire, which left them with merely the clothes on their backs and a few important documents such as birth certificates, when the shutdown went into effect. While she admitted that her family had somewhat of a "safety net," or savings, to keep them afloat during the shutdown, Pesiri-Dybvik added:

It's not a good situation for anyone to have to be in ... The federal employees should not be used as political pawns. They want a paycheck. Bottom line, they want to be paid for their hard work, and it's that simple.
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Apparently, Harris has been really moved by her resilience and bravery, which seemingly fueled her decision to bring Pesiri-Dybvik to the annual event. A statement from the senator reads, "Trisha's story is just one of many stories I heard during the shutdown of Americans whose lives were upended and who faced those difficult days with strength and resilience." The message continued, "Washington needs to hear her story and avoid another harmful shutdown."

Although the 35-day long shutdown has since ended, thanks to a deal between the president and lawmakers, the prospect of another one looks very real. While announcing the deal on Jan. 25, Trump said that lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to reach an agreement for wall funding or else he will shut the government down again. As you likely already know, he's sticking to his $5.7 billion request to finance the wall, but Democrats have said they won't give up anything more than $1.3 billion for wall fencing and barriers.

Another thing that will happen if an agreement isn't met, Trump said, is that he will "use the powers afforded to [him] under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency." While he didn't specify what those powers are, it's been heavily speculated that he may declare a national emergency, which would allow him to pull funds from the Department of Defense and other sources to pay for the wall. Elite Daily previously reached out to the White House for further comment on whether Trump will pull such a move, but did not hear back.

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He opened up about that option on Feb. 1, saying there's a "good chance" he'll pursue it in order to appropriate the funds, which means that this thing is only about to get uglier, as the move could face some serious court challenges, per CNBC.

With any luck, the president will see some of these faces in the crowd and have a change of heart on some of these controversial moves. Hey, you never really know, right? We'll see how this unfolds from here.