U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen talked about the federal government shutdown with constituents on Jan. 20 during a town hall in Marysville.
Larsen serves Washington’s 2nd Congressional District which includes Marysville, Tulalip and Arlington.
Many locals who are being affected by the shutdown talked about their hardships.
"We have family deployed on the North Star [a U.S. Coast Guard ship] with a wife and children at home,” said Arlington local Cheryl Wolff. “Of course family is jumping in to help, but none of us are going to be pull enough together for house payment, car insurance and health insurance."
Larsen said that 800,000 people are working for the federal government without pay, however they are not the only ones hurting.
Local mortgage loan officer Rick Tilton said his business is suffering as well.
"I specialize in USDA rural home development loans. That's about 80 percent of our business, so I'm not a federal employee like some of the people in the room but our income now is taking about a 80 percent hit,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall is the sticking point of the shutdown, and Larsen said that he supports increased border security but not the wall.
"I know that there are areas the president proposed in border security that the Democrats in the House agree with,” he said.
Larsen noted that the exact details of Trump’s border wall have never been released, so there is nothing to hold him accountable currently.
"I can't go to anybody and justify spending on money on something I think is wasteful,” he said.
Many at the town hall asked Larsen to support legislation that would prevent future shutdowns.
“Why isn't there a law in place that prevents one person from affecting the lives of 800,000 people and using it as a bargaining chip?” asked attendee Marylou Hart.
Larsen said that he would look into the current bills being proposed but didn’t know what could be done that wouldn’t be in violation of the constitution.
Many citizens also asked about immigration and reform for the current system.
“The truth of it is we're continuing to fund more border security without doing anything on immigration,” said Larsen.
Some argued that more acceptance of immigrants is needed.
"We contributed to what's happening to Central America. And I bet most people don't know about the Banana Wars and our role in making that mess. We have an obligation to fix that,” said local Lianne Shea.
Others wondered about the cost of undocumented immigrants, however Larsen said that because of the taxes they pay they are a net positive on the budget.
“There is more being paid from their taxes than is going out to those folks,” he said.
Larsen encouraged his constituents to continue contacting their representatives every couple of days "so that there's a drumbeat of urgency from the public.”