By: Ron Ruggiero, President, SEIU Local 105
Like many of you, we’ve been tracking the dysfunction in our nation’s capitol. As you probably heard, the federal government shutdown at midnight on January 19th, as Republicans chose not to pass a budget that also included the key concerns of their constituents. These concerns included legislation to protect Dreamers (supported by 8 in 10 Americans), and also an extension of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This is the bottom line: The GOP controlled Congress had months to protect Dreamers and extend children’s health care funding, but they chose to focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act and passing tax giveaways for millionaires and corporations instead. Then, when it came time to pass a budget, they used CHIP and Dreamers as political chips to try and get funding for a wasteful, unnecessary, and outrageous border wall.
On January 22nd, lawmakers were finally able to pass a short term spending bill to fund the government until February 8th, but they continue to postpone key priorities, like protecting Dreamers. CHIP is now extended for six years, and we applaud that, but lives are still at stake. Each day that Congress fails to act, over 100 Dreamers lose protection from deportation. 800,000 Dreamers are counting on Congress passing an enduring solution as soon as possible.
Call Congress today and tell them that Dreamers need their protection now. Waiting until February 8th or March is unacceptable. It’s a myth that we can wait to protect Dreamers. Every day, more are losing protection.
Call Congress: 1-888-204-8353.
Both Senators Gardner and Bennet voted for the short-term spending bill and need to be held accountable. People should not be used as bargaining chips by a dysfunctional Congress.
Working families are watching throughout this process. It’s time for Republicans who control the White House and both chambers of Congress to respect the values of working people. It’s also time for Democrats to stand up and defend the values of working people unequivocally. Working families are sick of the self-imposed crises Congressional leaders have created over and over for the past year.
Republicans figured out how to do massive tax cuts for rich people and corporations amid record profits and historic inequality; but then they gave us a government shutdown because they refuse to address their constituent’s priorities. That’s the key thing to remember.
SEIU members must elect leaders in November who will get the job done. We will vote to replace any who don’t with leaders who will champion our causes and stand shoulder to shoulder with workers in 2018, 2020 and beyond.