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DAY 16: Speaker Boehner's Shutdown Climbs to Third Longest

Oct 23, 2013
Press Release
How Long Will Republicans Continue the Government Shutdown?

Washington, D.C. —Today marks the 16th day that House Speaker John Boehner has continued the federal government shutdown by refusing to allow the House to vote on the clean Continuing Resolution that has passed the Senate and would pass the House today if Speaker Boehner would just bring it up for consideration.  The current shutdown has now climbed to the third longest in the rankings of the 18 previous government shutdowns.   Speaker Boehner’s shutdown will become the second longest tomorrow, October 17, and four days later, on Monday, October 21, Speaker Boehner’s shutdown will surpass the record 21-day shutdown under Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996. 

In response to these events, Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings issued the following statement:

“For more than two weeks, Speaker Boehner has allowed a small faction of Tea Party extremists to take the country hostage by refusing to allow the House to vote on clean legislation to reopen the government, all in pursuit of their ideological crusade to deny access to healthcare for millions of Americans.  Speaker Boehner is now coming perilously close to setting a shameful and infamous new record of shutting down the government even longer than former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and allowing our nation to default on its financial obligations for the first time in history.  The American people want Speaker Boehner to end this manufactured crisis and allow the House to vote on legislation to reopen the government immediately and raise the debt ceiling without taking healthcare away from millions.”

While Republicans insist on holding our country hostage, our most vulnerable citizens—children, the elderly, and the critically ill—are continuing to suffer:

    • Meals on Wheels:  “In Michigan, 29 agencies feed tens of thousands of residents—or they did until Oct. 3, when the USDA stopped reimbursing those agencies.  At the Community Action Agency in Kent County, Mich., Judy Cusin (who is married to Ron Cusin) had to break the news to 1,500 low-income seniors that their next meal had been eliminated.”  [NPR, 10/11/13]
    • Domestic Violence Shelters:  “At least 2,000 shelters nationwide rely on funds from the Family Violence Prevention Services Act, as well as the Violence Against Women Act and the Victims of Crime Act. … [S]helters in rural areas and small programs without a strong donor base will be the first forced to cut services.” [The Nation, 10/10/13]
    • National Institute of Health (NIH):  “A few desperately ill patients have managed to get into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health’s famed hospital, even though the government’s partial shutdown has others being turned away, the agency said Wednesday.  Normally, about 200 new patients every week enroll in studies at the NIH's research-only hospital, often referred to as the ‘house of hope’ because so many of those people have failed standard treatments.”  [Associated Press, 10/9/13]
    • Head Start:  “Seven Head Start programs were closed last week after the federal government shutdown Oct. 1.  Those closings left 7,195 low-income children without access to the program, according to the nonprofit National Head Start Association.”  [Washington Post, 10/7/13]
    • Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF):  “Arizona’s decision to withhold welfare checks because of the federal government shutdown appears to make it the only state to cut off funding for the very poor because of the budget crisis, according to policy experts.  The state stopped payments averaging $207 a week to 5,200 families eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families after Tuesday’s government shutdown.  TANF provides cash assistance and other support to low-income children and their parents.”   [Associated Press via Arizona Capitol Times, 10/7/13]
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC):  “Just before the shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had warned that states would run out of WIC cash after a ‘week or so.’ … If the aid dries up, desperate moms will probably dilute their babies’ formula with water to make it last longer, or simply give them water or milk.” [Associated Press via Politico, 10/4/13]
113th Congress