February 18, 2011

Media Contacts

Adam Sarvana (202) 225-2435 (Grijalva)

Tim Schumann (202) 225-4755 (Ellison)

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), today highlighted the impending threat of a government shutdown in the wake of Republican refusals to fund continuing operations. A shutdown, similar to the one that happened under Republican Congressional control in 1995, would end Social Security payments and Medicare benefits for seniors, services for our veterans, and scores of other crucial supports affecting millions of Americans.

A shutdown appears increasingly likely because Republican House leaders have refused to negotiate with the Democratic-controlled Senate over continuing to fund government agencies. Speaker of the House John Boehner said at a press conference on Tuesday that if Republican hack-and-slash budget tactics lead to hundreds of thousands of federal workers losing their jobs, “so be it.” Current funding is set to expire March 4, 2011.

“Republicans are willing to burn down our economy for the sake of appeasing their ideological base, and millions of people are going to suffer for it,” Grijalva said. “Shutting down Social Security, ending Medicare and putting job creators out of business is beyond irresponsible at this crucial time. Speaker Boehner didn’t try to hide his lack of concern about unemployment. His priority is dismantling the government, first and foremost.”

“Here we have yet another example of the ‘Republican No Jobs Agenda’ threatening to put millions of Americans out on the street,” said Rep. Ellison. “Across the country, Americans are standing up against the Republican war on working families, and Democrats and progressives are standing with them in the halls of Congress.”

Both co-chairs pointed out that after two months of Republican control of the House, the government is on the brink of shutting down and not a single bill to create a single job has been brought to the floor. Both co-chairs vowed to work with the White House and Democratic leaders to support continued government operations.

Republicans are playing politics with the jobs and livelihood of the American people. Shutting down the government would mean:

Shutting down veterans services
Shutting down Social Security
Shutting down Medicare
Shutting down benefits for Americans who have lost their jobs

“This is no way to run a government,” Grijalva said. “The result will be needless pain and suffering for millions of American families, and Republicans know it. Their bottom line is appeasing their base, not doing the people’s business.”