Black Breaking News

Congress poised to prevent government shutdown that would harm Black communities

The U.S. Senate could soon vote on a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown that would be catastrophic for Black Americans and other marginalized communities.

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsdord, D-Nev., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told theGrio that a government shutdown would be economically harmful on many fronts.  

“A shutdown would hurt Black Americans and our country’s working families…resulting in lost wages and weighing down our nation’s economy,” he said.

Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford (above) confirmed with theGrio that he met with Republican Sen. Tim Scott on Monday to discuss police reform and plans to reach out to other Republican colleagues. (Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

Horsford added, “It’s time to pass a clean, short-term resolution to keep the government open and protect the interests of all Americans.”

Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, noted that 18% of federal workers are Black, adding, “Not surprisingly, this is a workforce frequently demonized by conservatives.” 

The congresswoman said, “Asking them to work without pay or furloughing them is both disrespectful and bad governance.”

“There are also 1.6 million Black women and children receiving WIC benefits and over 11 million Black Americans receiving SNAP,” Brown added. “A prolonged shutdown could jeopardize WIC and SNAP benefits, putting millions of people at risk of hunger, food insecurity, and financial harm.”

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that would fund the government until early next year. The majority of the House voted in favor of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan.

As government shutdown approaches, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries calls Republicans ‘reckless’

The Republican Louisiana lawmaker unveiled his plan on Saturday that included two bills. The first would fund the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture until Jan. 19. The second bill would extend funding until Feb. 2 for the rest of the government.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, told theGrio that she’s shocked the stopgap measure “made it to the floor” on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised we ended up with a clean CR,” she said.

Crockett’s statements come after some House Republicans like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, publicly announced that they would vote against the House speaker’s continuing resolution. Potential holdouts led Speaker Johnson to believe that he had to rely on votes from House Democrats to pass the continuing resolution.

UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Horsford told theGrio that, in recent months, the Republican-controlled House has been dysfunctional.

“The eleven months of Republican-led dysfunction in the House stands in stark contrast to the previous historic two years that delivered investments in communities across the country to lower costs, increase wages, and create more jobs,” he said.

Despite the division within the GOP, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told theGrio in an earlier interview that House Dems would do what they could to avert a government shutdown.

“We’re going to do everything possible to make sure that we avoid an extreme MAGA government shutdown,” he said.

“What matters most is the American people, even if it’s not our ideal, we always put people over politics,” said Crockett. “I think Johnson recognized he could count on [Democrats] to be the adults in the room.”

Watch: Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman reacts to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blaming Democrats for the government shutdown

Now that the House has passed the stopgap measure, it needs to pass in the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by President Joe Biden by Friday’s deadline.

“I feel pretty confident the Senate will get it done and get it to the president’s desk,” said Crockett.

Congresswoman Brown said, “We need to fund the government, keep agencies open, keep delivering benefits, and avoid the chaos.”

She added, “Furloughing workers or having them work without pay just days before Thanksgiving is unthinkable.”

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