WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President of the Freshman Class, Congressman Robert Garcia (CA-42), led a unified Freshman Class of House Democrats in urging Speaker Kevin McCarthy to work towards a bipartisan solution to keep the government operational ahead of the looming September 30th funding deadline. Congressman Garcia was joined by Freshman Representative to Leadership, Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), and Freshman Steering & Policy Members Rob Menendez (NJ-08) and Hillary Scholten (MI-03). All members of the Freshman Democratic Class signed on to the letter.
In the letter, the House Democratic Freshman Class stressed their commitment to serving the American people and emphasized the need to prioritize functional governance over partisan politics. All Freshman members asserted that the threat of a government shutdown stands in direct contradiction to their duty as Representatives and would compromise the functioning of essential services that millions of Americans heavily rely on.
“Holding the American people hostage with the threat of a shutdown is irresponsible and risks destabilizing the lives of millions of American families,” said Congressman Garcia. “We have an obligation to the American people as elected lawmakers and Freshman Democrats are committed to working tirelessly towards a government that is effective, efficient, and accountable to the needs of our citizens.”
“Let’s be clear about what is at stake with this game that House Republicans are playing with our government: if Republicans launch us into a long-term shutdown at the end of this month, millions of Americans will be at risk of not receiving their federal benefits and millions of federal workers would be furloughed without pay. Speaker McCarthy has admitted that shutting down the government is merely a stunt to make his Caucus look tough and to retain the support of his MAGA colleagues—members who care more about attacking trans kids and banning reproductive healthcare for our military members than keeping our government functioning. The Republican Caucus has made delusional statements that a shutdown would be, in their words, ‘a good thing’. If that is what they believe, I hope they are ready to explain to their constituents why they are no longer receiving the federal benefits they depend on, or are unable to go back to work in our federal agencies and offices,” said Congresswoman Crockett.
“Our Freshman Democratic colleagues and I ran for Congress to work on solutions for the real challenges facing working families in our districts across the country,” said Congressman Menendez. “Unfortunately, instead of working across the aisle to collaborate on important issues impacting Americans, the House GOP has pursued a destructive partisan agenda that will soon bring us to the brink of a government shutdown. I am proud to join Rep. Garcia, Rep. Crockett, and Rep. Scholten, as well as all Freshman Democrats, in calling on Speaker McCarthy to keep his end of the spending agreement he struck with President Biden in May and avert a catastrophic shutdown.”
“A government shutdown is not inevitable – it is the product of a House Republican Majority that’s unwilling to do the work the American people sent them to Washington to do. In fact, Senate Republicans join us in our frustration about the roadblocks being thrown up by House Republicans,” said Congresswoman Scholten. “Our neighbors are counting on the GOP to join us in urgent, bipartisan action to fund the government and to protect the paychecks of hardworking federal employees — including our United States Coast Guard Members who do not get paid for serving our nation during our shutdown — and the benefits that our seniors, veterans, and so many others rely on.”
In the letter, the Freshman Democratic Class advocated for the same productive approach that the Senate Appropriations Committee used to pass all of its funding bills with broad bipartisan backing. In stark contrast, within a week of the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, House Republican leadership announced that they would not adhere to the funding levels negotiated. The work of the House Republican Appropriations Committee members broke three core tenets of the debt limit deal, moving the federal government closer to a shutdown. In contrast, a unified Democratic Freshman Class is demanding that any short-term funding extension remain free of controversial amendments and any detrimental cuts that would compromise the wellbeing of everyday Americans. House Republicans need to do what is right for the American people and write spending bills that are consistent with the deal that they overwhelmingly supported.
The full text can be found here.