Federal shutdown could be good for Kansas economy, congressman says

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wednesday was day twelve of the federal government shutdown with no sign of an end in sight.  Thursday, a new mix of lawmakers will begin working on the problem and some hope that will make the difference.

But while the shutdown means hundreds of thousands of Americans working with no guarantee of a pay check for now, at least one Kansas congressman says this shutdown could be a good thing for Kansas.

"If all this will lead to a comprehensive, fair immigration reform - that will greatly impact the Kansas economy," said Congressman Roger Marshall, (R) First District. 

Marshall says while he's pushing hard to bring the ongoing federal shutdown to an end, that's not his only goal.

"I just feel like the job's not finished yet," he said about the budget crisis.  "I stayed around until the Christmas Eve Eve.  It was a ghost town.  I got back late last night and it's still kind of a ghost town." 

President Donald Trump has sworn not to sign a bill funding that last portion of the federal services the government provides until Congress provides some $5 billion for a border wall.

Marshall says getting the government fully functional again is important, but for him that also means comprehensive immigration reform.

"We have to be able to fund the government.  We also need to be able to find a solution for border security as well," Marshall said.  "In the surveys we've done 80% of Kansans want us to figure out border security and immigration."

He says that's what most Kansans want because they need it to boost the state's Ag-based economy.

"To figure out immigration, to solve the agriculture guest worker visa problem we have, I need border security first," he said.  "So this is a stepping stone towards a bigger process, as well.  I think that's how Kansas will be most impacted."

Marshall says he expects to see progress toward a compromise once new members of congress are sworn in Thursday.

Just a note, KAKE News reached out to all of the current and incoming members of Kansas' congressional delegation Wednesday.  Besides Marshall, the only other one we heard back from was Representative Ron Estes, (R) Fourth District.

He sent a written statement.

“The partial shutdown impacting 25 percent of the government continues because Democrats refuse to come to the table to help secure our border,” said Estes. “Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer won’t negotiate a deal to address this crisis while President Trump is standing up for needed border security, which includes construction of a wall where it makes sense based on geography and population. I have been in steady communication with my colleagues since the partial shutdown began and look forward to working together to secure our border and reopen the government.”