CHN on the shutdown agreement: ‘A Break for All the Hostages’


January 25, 2019

Today, President Trump announced that he would sign a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through February 15. The Senate and House must vote to send such a bill to him, and they are expected to do so, very soon.

Federal workers will return and get paid, and funding for services will get a temporary reprieve. The harm that the President and his Administration have inflicted will not go away automatically. More than one thousand contracts for low-income rental housing were allowed to expire, and now must be hastily renewed so that funds can flow and tenants are no longer threatened with drastically increased rents or evictions. We are grateful in advance for the hard catch-up work federal workers will now have to do, as we are grateful for the hard work many workers have been doing since the shutdown began, without pay.

So the hostages get a break: the federal workers, the cleaning people, cafeteria workers, and others doing contracted services for the government, the low-income people threatened with loss of food and rent assistance, the Native Americans facing delayed health care, the people on line at airports, worried about food safety inspections, or shut out of national landmarks. That’s a lot of hostages.

All the lost pay and ruptured services, where does it get us? We are back to the same issues that divided the Congress and the President from the start, but with far more understanding of the costs of the President’s intransigence. We need government to function. We do not need wasteful and ineffective wall construction or the inhumane restrictions on current immigration law that were attempted and rejected in yesterday’s Trump-McConnell bill.

We have a break now because Americans have made it clear they don’t buy the President’s divisive line. Millions of Americans are depending on Congress to finish the work on this year’s spending, including relief for disasters that addresses Puerto Rico’s unmet needs. The Coalition on Human Needs will continue to join in the call for a humane, lawful government.