A federal government shutdown would wreak havoc on public services, AFSCME warned Congress in a letter in which the union also pushed lawmakers to pass a responsible budget, protect “Dreamers” and renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Congress should not leave town or kick the can down the road until it has fully completed all of these basic and urgent tasks,” wrote Scott Frey, AFSCME’s director of federal government affairs.
State and federal public services would be cut to the tune of $12 billion under the “grossly insufficient” funding measure passed by the House, Frey warned in the letter sent today, hours before the federal government is scheduled to begin shutting down.
“Cuts of this magnitude threaten the essential services that support Americans struggling to support basic needs, keep our communities safe and prosperous and invest in economic growth,” the letter said.
Frey also urged Congress to pass a “fair and permanent” solution that would prevent 800,000 Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children and “are truly American,” from being deported and make it possible for them to become citizens.
With regard to CHIP, AFSCME pointed out that the health care needs of 9 million kids are on the line. Congress’ failure to renew the popular program, which expired on September 30, has “injected disorder and uncertainty into the state budgeting process,” Frey wrote.
“Given the savings from long-term renewal of CHIP, it would be irrational to reauthorize the program for only six years,” AFSCME went on to say, adding that an extension lasting at least 10 years makes the most sense.