Press release

Demos Calls on Congress to Reopen the Government

Statement to be attributed to Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman

It’s been 19 days since President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress shut down the government. For almost three weeks, more than 800,000 federal employees and millions of additional federal contract workers have not known whether they will see a paycheck, be able to pay the rent, or put food on the table. This is now one of the longest government shutdowns in our nation’s history and the third shutdown since the start of the Trump administration. Working  families literally cannot afford for elected officials to continue to play politics with their livelihoods.

There is no crisis at the border. This is a brazen political shutdown that is holding the U.S. government hostage.

Our government and the people who work for it—from people who take care of our national parks and museums, to the men and women who work in our courts—are at a standstill, and it’s putting everyone at risk. Not only are federal employees struggling to figure out how to make ends meet during the shutdown, but women, children and infants and people living on Native American reservations are living without food assistance programs. If this shutdown drags on, millions of people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could go hungry. People who are anxiously waiting for tax refunds to pay bills will have to continue to wait. Families whose children attend daycare centers in federal buildings are scrambling to make sure their kids have a place to go. This shutdown is having a profound impact on people of color and working families, especially those who can least afford it.

In December, the Senate approved a stopgap spending measure that did not include money for a border wall, which demonstrates that the shutdown is the result of political gamesmanship by the Senate leadership and the White House. Last week, the House voted overwhelmingly to reopen the government. The Republican-controlled Senate, which has bowed to a president who is more intent on building a wall than building bridges, refused to do the same.  

We are calling on Senate Republicans to put working families first, reopen the government, and remember that ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

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