Jeff Van Drew and Allison Murphy

Congressman Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, and his Chief of Staff Allison Murphy, in his new office in the Cannon Office Building on his first day in Congress Jan. 3, 2019.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew gave his first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, calling on his peers to support his bills to fund the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration during the partial government shutdown.

“Politicians like to talk, we like to give speeches,” said Van Drew during his one-minute speech just after noon. “We talk about the Coast Guard and how noble they are, how brave they are, how they stand up for us, these strong men and women. But currently our Coast Guard men and women are suffering and are without pay.”

Other members talked about the need to end the shutdown, while some talked about other issues of importance to their district.

Van Drew said he’s beginning to lose patience with the lack of progress on ending the shutdown but is hopeful the Problem Solvers’ Caucus, of which he is a member, will be able to move things forward.

He said a few of its members from both parties were chosen Wednesday morning to meet with President Donald Trump, to talk about possible compromises.

“We’ve got to come up with some answers here,” said Van Drew. “Every day that goes by it becomes more challenging and problematic. The list of areas we are concerned about grows bigger.”

From the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) to airport security to the Coast Guard to corrections officers in federal prisons, he said problems are mounting for those going without paychecks and departments going without workers.

In the speech, he said the duty of House members is “to treat these men and women with decency, honor and respect, and may God always bless them.”

Whatever anyone thinks of Trump, he said, “everyone needs to compromise — the president, the speaker, the Congress,” said Van Drew. “Quite frankly nobody wants to, but it’s doable.”

He said he is unaware of any repercussions after opposing Nancy Pelosi as speaker in his first voice vote in the House.

“I haven’t felt it,” he said of any revenge for his “no” vote on Pelosi.

Politico.com reported Wednesday that three-term Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, of New York, a former prosecutor, was kept from a seat on the Judiciary Committee by Pelosi in a closed-door meeting. Rice had been a vocal opponent of Pelosi as speaker.

Rice had the seniority and background, but Pelosi opposed her and instead pushed for several freshmen congresspeople instead, according to Politico.

As a freshman, Van Drew said he is not expecting any A-list committee assignments.

For his first choice, he had given Agriculture or Transportation and Infrastructure. He will soon find out which he will get.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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