Moving Forward from the Federal Government Shutdown

Thank you to National Council of Nonprofits for sharing:

With legislative action by Congress and a signature by the President, politicians finally called a truce, but not a complete end to the political wrangling that led to the federal government shutdown of five full weeks – the longest in history. The agreed-upon funding only runs until February 15 and the underlying policy issues that led to the dispute that imposed so much strife on individuals, communities, and the U.S. economy remain unresolved. The shutdown has demonstrated how much the nonprofit community and federal government interact, and how much the public and government alike rely on nonprofits to fill the gaps. An important lesson learned by the public as a result of the 35-day shutdown is that nonprofits are integral to a properly functioning society and economy. In return, charitable organizations have both the opportunity and responsibility to help ensure that politicians never treat the lives and livelihoods of Americans as a bargaining tactic. Therefore, we raise this …

Call to Action

The deal to end the government shutdown is only a time out; reason must prevail to prevent a return to crisis mode. We need to lift our voices to ensure our elected officials know that the human cost of their political games is too great to countenance a return to shutdown. Here are ways you can increase the pressure on your federal officials:

  • Contact the White House. Dial 202-456-1111 and tell the President “Don’t play political games with American lives; shutdown is not an option.” NOTE: the line may be busy, so keep trying.
  • Call your two U.S. Senators. “Choose a State” from this list of Senators for their direct contact information, or simply call the Senate switchboard and ask to be connected with the Senators from your state at 202-224-3121. Tell your Senators: “Don’t play political games with American lives; shutdown is not an option.”
  • Call your U.S. Representative. Simply call the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected with your Representative. Not sure who’s representing you? Find your Representative here. Tell your Representative: “Don’t play political games with American lives; shutdown is not an option.”

Nonprofits: Please share your stories with us – both what you are seeing among the people you serve and what constraints your nonprofit is experiencing – so we can assess emerging trends and elevate key issues for greater visibility. After you do that, place a call to your local newspaper and TV station. If enough people know about the real consequences of the shutdown, the resulting public pressure will force the politicians – now and in the future – to avoid shutdowns. You can also share your story on Twitter, using the hashtag #NonprofitShutdownStories.