Democrats Enjoy Beach Party Vacation in Puerto Rico Amid Government Shutdown
30 Democratic members of Congress jet off for winter break at luxury resort
Thirty Democrats enjoyed spending the weekend sunning themselves on the beaches of Puerto Rico, as the partial government shutdown drags into its fourth week, with no end in sight.
Democratic members of Congress were pictured enjoying the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC's luxurious winter retreat in San Juan, while their colleagues back at home worked to negotiate an end to the ongoing shutdown, complaining that most federal workers have now missed a paycheck.
The BOLD PAC's annual roundtable weekend entertained "key officials," who met with members of the Puerto Rican government to discuss the ongoing Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
During their trip, they also get to spend quality time soaking up rays on San Juan's famous beaches, rubbing elbows with Puerto Rico's VIPs, and attending a special premiere performance of the musical "Hamilton," starring the show's A-list creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Democrats spent quality time with lobbyists from some of the world's biggest corporations, according to the Washington Examiner.
"Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association," the Examiner reports.
White House Press Secretary Sander Sanders joined other Republican leaders who blasted Democratic members of Congress for traveling to Puerto Rico this weekend to enjoy a luxury get-away.
According to Fox News, Republicans were angered over images of their Democratic colleagues enjoying the island’s beaches as the partial government shutdown entered its third week.
“Democrats in Congress are so alarmed about federal workers not getting paid they’re partying on the beach instead of negotiating a compromise to reopen the government and secure the border,” Sanders tweeted Sunday morning.
GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also lambasted the Democrats in Puerto Rico for “hitting the beach and partying with lobbyists” in a tweet on Sunday.
“While [President Trump] is in DC working to resolve the government shutdown and secure our border, Democrats are hitting the beach and partying with lobbyists,” McDaniel tweeted.
Around 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in a memo welcoming the guests to the seaside resort in Puerto Rico.
Among those attending are members of some from prominent Washington firms as well as representatives from R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association.
“This year’s winter retreat promises to be our most widely attended yet with over 220 guests, including 39 Members of Congress and CHC BOLD PAC supporters expected to attend and participate!” a planning memo said.
Spotted: Sen. Bob Menendez on the beach at a resort in Puerto Rico on Day 22 of the partial government shutdown. Reports say dozens of Dems are in PR for the CHC BOLD PAC winter retreat — including meetings on Maria cleanup, and a party with PR’s “Hamilton” cast. pic.twitter.com/6FaBYKPo4L— David McAlpine (@DavidMcAlpine) January 12, 2019
A spokesman for the BOLD PAC -- part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus -- would not tell the Examiner which members of Congress would be attending. But U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was spotted on the beach Saturday, according to a FOX News producer.
The Dems' visit comes amid the ongoing partial government shutdown that has left around 800,000 federal workers with no pay since it began Dec. 22, making it the longest government closure in U.S. history.
“I’m not even in government and I’d get killed in the press if I was on vacation right now,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.
“Why won’t they cover their democrat buddies lobbyist sponsored vacation in the islands???”
President Trump has refused to sign spending bills for nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments until Congress approves his request for $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have refused.
The president initially said he would be "proud" to own the partial shutdown, but he quickly shifted blame onto Democratic leaders and has flirted with taking some extraordinary measures to find money for the wall.
Although most Republicans have stood by the president, others have expressed discomfort with the strategy.