WATCH: Congresswoman Summer Lee Leads CPC in Powerful Speech on Real-Life Impact of GOP Shutdown, Lays Out Progressive Position Hammering McCarthy’s Failure to Stick to His Own Deal

Sep 20, 2023
Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2023

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

WATCH: Congresswoman Summer Lee Leads CPC in Powerful Speech on Real-Life Impact of GOP Shutdown, Lays Out Progressive Position Hammering McCarthy’s Failure to Stick to His Own Deal

“Republicans know the American people see right through their bullshit. So instead, they’re trying to divert and distract by spending taxpayer dollars on a fake impeachment hoping the media falls for their scheme and gives more airtime to their lies than the reality of how their shutdown will impact your lives. No cuts, no layoffs, and no shutdown. Period.”

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) today led members of the Congressional Progressive caucus in a press conference with Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal and other members of the Caucus’ Executive Committee. 

Lee, who has depended on the food and housing lifelines that a Republican shutdown would tear from millions of Americans, spoke powerfully on the devastating real-life impacts of a shutdown and called out McCarthy’s plot to divert and distract from that reality by wasting taxpayer dollars on a baseless impeachment inquiry under the assumption that the media will give more airtime to their lies than how Republican’s shutdown will impact Americans’ lives. 

Click here or below to watch Lee’s remarks

Link to the Video

Congresswoman Summer Lee’s Remarks:

Good afternoon. I came to Congress to represent single moms and families and left-behind communities like my own in Braddock PA – and children whose ability to grow into the doctors, or teachers, or business owners or Congresswomen we need depends on our government not only functioning for them, but fighting for them. They deserve better from their government, not worse. 

But instead, Progressives are here today – for the second time since those of us who are freshman came into office just months ago – because Republicans are deliberately forcing a government shutdown because they know that we the people won’t stand for their cruel pro-hunger, pro-eviction, anti-parent, anti-senior, anti-worker plot to please their cable-news culture-warriors and pay for handouts to their billionaire friends. 

Republicans know the American people see right through their bullshit. So instead, they’re trying to divert and distract by spending taxpayer dollars on a fake “impeachment” counting on the media to fall for their scheme and give more airtime to their lies than how their shutdown will impact your lives. 

  • So if you’re a parent, I want you to know that we are fighting to stop Republicans from forcing a government shutdown that would rip away access to pre-school from 100,000 toddlers, tear away access to life-saving health care for 70,000 children in need of checkups, chemo-therapy and trips to the ER….and keep over 2 million women, babies, and children from receiving formula and food assistance they need to survive. 
  • If you’re a senior or somebody who loves their parents and grandparents, I want you to know that we are fighting to stop Republicans from forcing a shutdown that would rob 60,000 of our grandmas and grandpas of lifeline access to food delivery and shelter…
  • With housing costs so high that nearly all of us are just a crisis or two away from becoming unhoused, I want you to know that we are fighting to stop Republicans from robbing nearly 300,000 households—20,000 veterans—of vouchers they need to keep a roof over their heads
  • And if you’re someone with an injury illness or disability, I want you to know that we’re fighting to stop them from forcing you to wait 2 whole months longer to receive the lifeline disability benefits you need to pay for rent and groceries

I don’t know many toddlers who would throw this kind of temper tantrum. And I don’t know any regular person outside of Washington – democrat or republican – who wants families evicted from their homes, flights canceled by TSA staffing shortages, and seniors unable to get help with Social Security and Medicare.

I want to wrap by saying that Republicans have made their priorities clear: protect the rich and CEOs of the biggest corporations, starve and evict families, cut people off from essential services, and attack trans people and the right to abortion at the expense of their own voters and our entire economy. 

We have a big fight ahead, but I want folks to know. Just like last time, the people-powered progressives here with us today will hold the line and make damn sure Republicans honor the deal they made. No cuts, no layoffs, and no shutdown. Period. 

Lee and 91 House Progressives Call Out Kevin McCarthy

Lee and 91 other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus urged Speaker Kevin McCarthy today to do his job, join his House Democratic colleagues and a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, keep to the deal he struck with President Biden, and pass a government funding bill to avoid a shutdown.

The new letter comes just 10 days before House Republicans’ infighting and inability to govern threatens to shut down the government. The House majority has only been able to pass one of the 12 funding appropriations bills required to keep the federal government functioning on October 1, despite the “inclusion of extreme policy riders and draconian spending cuts designed to accommodate the far-right faction of your conference,” write the lawmakers.

Speaker McCarthy’s abject failure to ensure his House majority governs is also a failure in meeting the obligations of the deal he himself negotiated with President Biden in May. That deal became law; Republicans’ attempt to undercut the deal with lower spending levels or the inclusion of “poison-pill policy riders” guarantees a government shutdown. 

The members outline the catastrophic impact of those cuts, should they become law: “Republican-written House appropriations bills would impose an $800 million cut to food benefits for low- income mothers and children, kick 224,000 teachers from classrooms, and eliminate access to early childhood education for 51,000 children in Head Start, all while limiting access to abortion.” 

Progressives also warn that House Republicans’ dysfunction will cause immediate and widespread harm to the American people. “A government shutdown will impact the very things families desperately need: the risk of running out of SNAP and TANF benefits, limited access to beneficiary assistance for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, curtailed food and environmental safety inspections, weakened disease surveillance, treatment and prevention efforts, and the potential of no back pay for low-wage federal contract workers,” the lawmakers write.

As lawmakers emphasize: “[I]f you choose not to pass a bipartisan government funding bill consistent with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, you are deliberately choosing to shut down the government.”

The full letter can be read here.


Signatories of the letter include: Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Greg Casar (TX-35), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D (NC-12), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D (NY-16), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Shontel Brown (OH-11), André Carson (IN-7), Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Chris Deluzio (PA-17), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Valerie Foushee (NC-4), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), John Garamendi (CA-08), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Daniel Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Morgan McGarvey (KY-03), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-at large), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-45), Delia Ramirez (IL-3), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Andrea Salinas (OR-6), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Adam Smith (WA-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Mark Takano (CA-41), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is made up of more than 100 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and advance civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, good-paying jobs, fair trade, universal health care, debt-free college, climate action, and a just foreign policy. The caucus has been the leading voice calling for bold and sweeping solutions to the urgent crises facing this nation, including ending America’s broken for-profit health care system, raising the minimum wage, eliminating political corruption, bolstering labor protections for working families, and taking swift action to stop the warming of our planet.

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