URGE CONGRESS TO FIND A SOLUTION TO RESTORE ALL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST PASS A BUDGET WHICH ADVANCES HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS WHILE PRESERVING HUMAN “NEEDS” PROGRAMS FOR ALL
Our federally elected officials – Members of Congress and the President of the United States -- have two mandatory jobs they must do: pass a humane budget and pay our nation’s debts. As of midnight on September 30, 2013, Congress failed to fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget representative of the needs of all Americans and send it to the President for his signature. At the heart of the matter is the fact that the House of Representatives wants to use a short term budget agreement (a.k.a. a “continuing resolution”, or a “CR”) to delay for at least a year, or fully repeal, the health care reform act (a.k.a “The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “Obamacare”) (which is a process many in Washington refer to as a form of extortion). The Senate, on the other hand, wants a “clean” short term budget, free of policy initiatives. As a result, much of the Federal government has been shut down. Once a short term budget is in place, there will undoubtedly be a similar debate over priorities in a long-term budget, as well as whether or not to raise the debt ceiling (which is also an issue the NAACP has taken a strong stand in support of through the Resolutions process during it annual convention in Kansas City, MO., in 2010).
The repercussions of this shutdown are deep and felt nation-wide. They include:
- Services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient Federal funds to serve all beneficiaries in an extended lapse;
- Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help Veterans understand their benefits will close to the public, and, Veterans’ compensation, pension, education and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown;
- Every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the World War II Memorial in Washington DC to the Statue of Liberty, have been immediately closed;
- Work to protect consumers, ranging from child product safety to the safety of hazardous waste facilities, have ceased.
- Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees, as many as 780,000, including many charged with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe will work without pay until the shutdown ends.
- Hundreds of thousands of additional Federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
At this point, no one knows how long the shut down will last or how (or if) the issues which led to it will be resolved. In order to avoid another national economic crisis (many African Americans are still feeling the repercussions from the last recession), the NAACP is strongly urging all sides to put aside partisan politics and come to the table of compromise in good faith. They are our elected leaders, and they should lead.