September 20, 2023
While President Biden has been in New York this week showcasing America’s global leadership on the world stage, extreme House Republicans are consumed by chaos and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would damage our communities, economy, and national security.
Instead of following the bipartisan example of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, extreme House Republicans continue to demand a reckless laundry list of partisan proposals as a condition of keeping the government open—from an evidence-free impeachment that even some of their own members don’t agree with, to reckless cuts to programs millions of hardworking families and seniors count on, to a litany of other extraneous ideological demands.
Just three months after threatening to default on America over their partisan agenda, extreme House Republicans are back at it again. Their latest 30-day continuing resolution is just more of the same—a shutdown bill that doubles down on extreme, partisan proposals that can’t pass the Senate and will never become law. Their bill not only makes devastating, indiscriminate cuts to food safety, education, law enforcement, housing, public health, Head Start and child care, Meals on Wheels, and more—it also fails to provide the urgent funding President Biden requested to support disaster-struck communities, counter fentanyl trafficking, support Ukraine, provide critical food assistance for pregnant and post-partum women and young children, and avoid disruptions to FAA air traffic operations.
And here’s what’s clear: if extreme House Republicans fail to ram through their radical agenda, they plan to take their frustration out on the American people by forcing a government shutdown that would undermine our economy and national security, create needless uncertainty for families and businesses, and have damaging consequences across the country.
Consider just some of the impacts of a Republican shutdown:
- Force Servicemembers and Law Enforcement Officers to Work Without Pay: Under a Republican shutdown, all active-duty military personnel and many law enforcement officers would remain at work, but receive no pay until appropriated funds are available.
- Endanger Disaster Response: A Republican shutdown would create an increased risk that FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is depleted and would complicate new emergency response efforts if additional catastrophic disasters occur. Funding for long-term recovery projects would also remain halted, worsening ongoing delays as FEMA awaits new appropriations.
- Undermine Research on Cancer and Other Diseases: A Republican shutdown would stall critical research on diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s because the National Institutes of Health would be forced to delay new clinical trials. New patients, many of whom are desperately waiting for a chance at new treatment through a clinical trial, will be turned away.
- Eliminate Head Start Slots for Kids: Under a Republican shutdown, 10,000 children across the country would immediately lose access to Head Start, as the Department of Health and Human Services wouldn’t be able to award Head Start Grants during a shutdown—with the impacts only growing worse over time.
- Risk Significant Delays for Travelers: Air traffic controllers and TSA Officers would have to work without pay—potentially leading to significant delays and longer wait times for travelers at airports across the country like there were during previous shutdowns.
- Undermine Public Health and Environmental Protections: Most EPA-led inspections at hazardous waste sites as well as drinking water and chemical facilities would stop. EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to ensure safe water and clean air in communities. Additionally, efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS—which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer—would be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites would slow or cease.
- Deny Capital for Small Businesses: The Small Business Administration would not accept, review, or approve any new business loans—including SBA’s primary loan to small businesses—cutting off an important source of funding for small businesses across the country.
- Undermine Food Safety: The Food and Drug Administration could be forced to delay food safety inspections for a wide variety of products all across the country.
- Delay Infrastructure Projects: A Republican shutdown could delay major infrastructure projects across the country due to a delay in EPA and DOI environmental reviews, which would affect multiple federal agency projects. In addition, permitting could be disrupted. For example, no USDA loans or grants would be made for modernizing utilities infrastructure in rural America, including permitting actions for rural electric transmission and broadband projects.
- Impair Workplace Safety and Accountability: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would be forced to limit workplace inspections, denying workers a key protection against safety risk, and Americans who are owed back pay for their hard work would face delays due to the majority of Department of Labor investigations being suspended.
These consequences are real and avoidable—but only if House Republicans stop playing political games with peoples’ lives and catering to the ideological demands of their most extreme, far-right members. It’s time for House Republicans to abide by the bipartisan budget agreement that a majority of them voted for, keep the government open, and address other urgent needs for the American people.