Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I. VT):
Last night Trump said that this country faces a national emergency – and he’s right. But it’s an emergency and a crisis that he created.
We are now on day 19 of Trump's government shutdown with more than 800,000 federal workers still without pay — many of whom are extremely worried about how they’re going to pay their mortgages, feed their families, afford their medicine and pay their car loans.
Our federal employees deserve to be treated with respect, not held hostage as political pawns.
Let me be very clear: The Democratic-led House passed a bill to end the shutdown — the same bill, I would remind you, that passed the Senate unanimously just a few weeks ago.
Now it’s time to bring it up for a vote in the Senate. So today I am calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the House bill to come to the floor to get a vote.
But the only way that will happen is if all of us make our voices heard. So I am asking you today:
We received stories from some federal employees who shared how this shutdown is impacting them. I'd like to take a moment to share a few of them with you today.
One Smithsonian employee writes: “I live paycheck to paycheck like nearly all of my co-workers and I am scared that with losing weeks of income and my health care benefits, one family medical emergency for myself, my children, or my grandchildren during Donald Trump's shutdown could make us homeless.”
Another worker writes: “I am a federal contractor who is not working and will never get back pay. Border security is important, but so is making sure my children eat. Donald Trump does not speak for me or the many thousands of others who just want to do the work we were hired to do.”
And another federal employee writes: “I'm a federal government employee, a single mom, and homeowner, and my hot water heater just went out today. I have no idea when our next paycheck will come. This shutdown needs to end now.”
But it’s not just federal employees that are going to be hurt because of this shutdown. Millions of Americans, including many of our most vulnerable citizens, will be impacted as well.
If the shutdown continues into February, millions of low-income and working families who depend on food stamps from the Department of Agriculture will struggle to put food on the table.
Pregnant mothers and their babies may go without the nutrition assistance they need to stay healthy as the WIC program is on the verge of running out of money.
Security at airports and the length of time needed to go through security could very well be impacted if TSA employees are not getting paid.
Farmers and small businesses won't be able to receive financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture that they need to survive.
If the federal housing administration is unable to process applications for potential homeowners, many Americans will not be able to get the homes they need.
As all of you know, this country faces enormous problems. At a time when the very wealthy are getting richer, we have millions of workers who are struggling.
If Trump wants to talk about crises, why don’t we look at the massive levels of income and wealth inequality. Or the 30 million Americans who have no health insurance and millions more who cannot afford the medicine they need. Or the fact that too many seniors are living in poverty, too many kids can’t afford to go to college, and over 40 million are faced with outrageous amounts of student debt.
We don’t need to create artificial crises like this government shutdown. We have enough real ones.
There are enormous issues that must be dealt with. That's what the Senate and the House must start doing – but first, we need to end this shutdown.
This government shutdown is hurting American families. Thanks for adding your name to demand that we bring an end to it immediately.
Democracy for America is also joining the call for Senate Democrats to filibuster any bill that isn’t regarding re-opening the government:
We’re now in Day 18 of the #TrumpShutdown — and there's still no end in sight.
Last night, Donald Trump tried to shift the blame for the very real government shutdown crisis he has created by lying and manufacturing an imaginary crisis at our Southern border.
Today, he's meeting with Congressional leadership, supposedly to strike a deal. But there's no indication that he has any intention of funding the government unless Democrats agree to fully fund his racist, ridiculous border wall project.
Momentum has been growing among Senate Democrats — thanks to leaders like Chris Van Hollen, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — to halt all legislation until the government is re-opened.
Yesterday, they had enough votes to kill a bill Mitch McConnell thought would pass. If they stick together, they can make sure the GOP faces real consequences for the pain they are inflicting on working families right now.
Sign our petition and tell Senate Democrats to hold the line: Freeze ALL legislation until the government is re-opened and working families are getting their paychecks once again — without giving an inch on border wall funding.
Mitch McConnell is equally to blame for creating this mess. He has been utterly silent on the government shutdown, choosing instead to try to run the Senate as if it is business as usual.
Well, it's not.
Donald Trump continues to deprive more than 800,000 federal workers and 500,000 contractors of their hard-earned wages in an attempt to blackmail Democrats into funding his immoral border wall.
And as the government shutdown continues, services such as SNAP benefits, tax refunds, and other government benefits will be put on hold, pushing thousands of families to the brink of financial insecurity.
By grinding lawmaking to a halt in the Senate, Democrats can show this childish president and the Senate Republicans who enable him that we refuse to be held hostage any longer.
This is an emergency. Democrats can't give in to the GOP's attempts to change the subject. They need to continue to refuse to move any legislation whatsoever until Mitch McConnell allows a vote to re-open the government.
Jay Henderson, Senior Digital Strategy Manager
Democracy for America
Also, CREDO Action is putting pressure on McConnell as well:
Mitch McConnell needs to be reminded that he does not work for Donald Trump.
On Thursday evening, just hours after Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed legislation to clean up Republicans' mess and end the Trump-McConnell government shutdown.1
But now – even though the same legislation passed the Senate unanimously just two weeks ago – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying he won't even allow a vote because the bill doesn't meet Trump's racist demands.2
Sign our urgent petition now to remind McConnell that he works for the American people – not Trump.
In November, voters unequivocally rejected Trump's anti-immigrant agenda. But Republicans are still not listening. Now, thanks to the Trump-McConnell government shutdown, more than 800,000 federal employees and contractors have been on unpaid leave or working without pay for the past two weeks.3 Many of them are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet.4
McConnell is allowing the whims of his party's fragile racist leader to dictate his every move. He is not listening to the majority of voters who don't want a border wall.5 He doesn't seem to care about the workers suffering because of the shutdown. He is not doing his job. Democrats want to end the shutdown. Does he?
The Democratic plan to end the government shutdown includes two components: one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February to allow time for further negotiation and another to fund other federal agencies through October. Both bills easily passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and would very likely pass the Senate. In fact, on Thursday at least three Senate Republicans called on Congress to stop playing games and end the shutdown.6
The next step is for the Senate to pass legislation and send a bill to Trump. That can't happen until McConnell gets the message and allows a vote. Click the link below to sign the petition to McConnell now:
Thanks for everything you do,
Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
- Matt Fuller, “Democrats Pass Bill To Reopen Government; Shutdown Continues,” HuffPost, Jan. 3, 2019.
- Kaili Joy Gray, “Tweet,” Jan. 3, 2019.
- Khushbu Shah, “'Our income has stopped': shutdown leaves workers stressed and struggling,” The Guardian, Jan. 4, 2019.
- Stephanie Ebbs, “Faces of the shutdown: In second week, more people impacted by closed agencies,” ABC News, Jan. 4, 2019.
- Joe Davidson, “Unpopular Trump pushes unpopular wall as federal employees, services suffer,” The Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2019.
- Alexander Bolton, “Cracks beginning to show in GOP shutdown resolve,” The Hill, Jan. 3, 2019.