681 groups tell Congress: Responsibly fund needed services and reject the chaos of a government shutdown 


September 12, 2023

The Coalition on Human Needs and 681 local, state, and national groups delivered a message to Congress Tuesday: do your duty and keep government running. 

The groups delivered a letter to every member of the House and Senate urging passage of a clean, bipartisan continuing resolution (CR), including “emergency funding that supports current services and addresses urgent needs and is free of poison pill policy riders that are harmful and irrelevant to the functions of government.”

The organizations signing the letter come from every state in the nation, and include religious organizations, unions, health care, emergency food and shelter, and legal service providers, as well as those meeting the needs of children, the aging, people with disabilities, the poor, tribal and other indigenous people, and other groups concerned with the environment/climate, education, gender issues, civil rights and more. 

“Shutdowns harm our nation’s overall economy, the financial security of individuals and families, government efficiency, and the public’s access to needed services,” the letter states. “A shutdown would put the nation’s economy at risk, delay or interrupt services to millions, and disrupt the jobs of over a million workers, making it harder for people to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, and stay safe and healthy. A shutdown would make vulnerable communities including people of color more at risk and result in their disproportionate harm.” 

The letter notes that House spending proposals violate the spirit of the debt ceiling agreement reached by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this year and that was enacted by Congress. It praises the Senate, which is advancing 12 bipartisan appropriations bills and proposing emergency funding to address some critical needs. “This is a critical first step to recognize that the funding caps are unrealistic and harmful and that in the future, the appropriations process should start from what agencies and our communities actually require, not arbitrary numbers that are untethered from the realities of what the nation needs,” the letter states. 

The letter includes a list of programs and services that could be affected by a shutdown: “assistance with housing and child care for low-income families, rural development, support for education and job training, scientific and medical research, medical care, veterans’ services, aging services, environmental protections so that we can breathe clean air and drink clean water, substance use disorder and mental health treatment, infrastructure investments including sewage treatment, public transportation systems and safe roads, flood control and navigation improvements, diplomacy, humanitarian aid and development, courts and reentry programs, public safety programs, assistance for small businesses, and many other programs to strengthen our communities.” 

“In summary,” the letter concludes, “our country needs Congress to push past the chaos and focus on the basics: keeping the government running and passing funding bills that place the needs of Americans and the public interest first.” 

To view the letter and see the sign-on groups, click here.  

Budget and Appropriations