Rep. John Lewis on Government Shutdown
Early this morning, the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate issued the forwarded statement regarding the shutdown of the federal government. Republicans run the House, Senate and the White House. That means without one Democratic vote, they have the power to pass federal funding legislation. Their conference is split, unable to keep the government open, and the American people are paying for it.
Thousands of American families will come up short during this holiday season—plans will be cancelled, bills will be left unpaid, and some families teetering on the brink will slip into poverty. In Atlanta, in particular where many hundreds of federal employees work, and throughout Georgia, all regional federal agriculture services will cease, regional Department of Justice employees, IRS and Treasury workers, National Park Service workers, public-private partnership program workers like those in the Georgia Council of International Visitors, federal housing employees and thousands more cannot return to work until the government is funded.
This is the bitter result of an unwillingness to compromise. Instead of building a coalition of consent, the president has decided to hold Americans hostage to force funding of an albatross — a $5 billion border wall he said Mexico would pay for. When will Republican leaders face what history has already taught us that peaceful diplomacy, fair trade agreements, and humane foreign policy is the strongest form of border security.
It is my hope that our government will come to its senses and that Republican leaders will act swiftly and responsibly to reopen the federal government.