CHN urges Congress to keep government funded through mid-December, return to work on appropriations


September 28, 2022

Editor’s note: The Coalition on Human Needs on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 delivered a letter to all House members and Senators urging passage of a concurrent resolution to keep government funded through mid-December. The text of the letter, which was signed by CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein, is below. You can download a PDF of the letter here.

September 27, 2022

Dear Senator/Representative:

On behalf of the Coalition on Human Needs, I strongly urge you to enact a Continuing Resolution (CR) through December 16, to prevent a shutdown of appropriated programs and to continue authorization of multiple expiring programs, and to provide urgently needed funding increases.

By extending many essential programs only through December 16 and leaving out many urgent needs, this CR underscores the necessity for Congress to return to work on a full omnibus appropriations package to be ready before the December 16 deadline.  People with the lowest incomes and people of color are disproportionately harmed by inadequate access to affordable housing, health and mental health care, education and training, child care, nutrition, environmental justice and other services; every week without responding to these needs prevents the progress required for sustained prosperity for all.

The human service providers, faith organizations, policy experts, civil rights, labor, and other groups advocating to meet the needs of people with low incomes that make up the Coalition on Human Needs support the inclusion of $1 billion in additional funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $2 billion in new funds for the Community Development Block Grant, $1.775 billion for care for unaccompanied minor children at the southern border, and $62 million for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

In other areas, the CR provides the barest minimum towards meeting urgent needs.  Puerto Rico and the other territories need a long-term commitment to pay a fair and adequate share of their Medicaid expenses.  The CR extends the current increased federal share through the December 16 deadline.  Assuring at least a multi-year commitment to federal payments commensurate with the payments made to states should be a top priority for inclusion in an omnibus package.  Puerto Rico will also need assistance to recover from Hurricane Fiona.  While the CR allows FEMA to spend its current funding at a faster rate to respond to Fiona and other disasters, more funding will be needed.  Similarly, while it is important that funds are included to address Jackson, Mississippi’s grossly unsafe water system, the $20 million provided is by no means adequate.

We remain deeply disappointed in Congress’ continuing failure to provide supplemental funding for an adequate federal response to COVID-19 and Monkeypox.  While coronavirus cases are declining, there are still nearly 30,000 hospitalized and more than 400 deaths per day, with no assurance that there will not be a new surge later in the fall or winter.  The new booster will help control the spread of the new variants, and new treatments are helping those with serious cases, but the reach of prevention and treatment will not be adequate without additional funds.  We must also take all the steps necessary to ensure that Monkeypox is contained.

The Continuing Resolution before the Senate is truly a temporary, stop-gap solution.  It needs to pass, but Congress must not delay in coming to agreement on a full omnibus with adequate funding to meet our growing domestic and international needs.

Sincerely yours,

Deborah WeinsteinExecutive Director