Statement on the Shutdown

January 23, 2019
The Office of Government Relations

The federal government shutdown – which never should have occurred – must be brought to an end to stop the damage that has already been inflicted.

Tomorrow, the Senate will consider two amendments to an appropriations bill that would reopen the government:

  1. The first would include $5.7 billion for a wall on the southern border, make changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that would harm those who are recipients, restrict Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and limit asylum protections for vulnerable children.
  2. The second would revive the bipartisan agreement from 2018, and open the government for a few weeks. The Episcopal Church urges the passage of this short-term bill.

The Episcopal Church opposes increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border. We also urge expanded and long-term protections for Dreamers and those with TPS, as well as humane, compassionate, and evidenced-based immigration policy. The billions of dollars devoted to a border wall will do nothing to address the opioid epidemic: research and law enforcement have a consensus that the majority of drugs that cross the southern border do so though established ports of entry. Finally, we must maintain the ability of those seeking asylum to do so–whether at ports of entry or on U.S. soil, ensuring we guarantee this essential and legal form of protection.

The second amendment is a shorter version of the bipartisan spending bill passed by the Senate in 2018 before President Trump indicated he would not support the legislation. This proposal would reopen the government for three weeks, during which time federal workers could receive back pay, and Congress could negotiate a compromise bill for the full year.

While President Trump has threatened to veto any bill that does not include the $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to appropriate funding for the federal government. The Senate should send this bill to the President to end this reckless, dangerous, and damaging government shutdown. We hope that the President would respect the bipartisan agreement, but if he exercises his veto, we would nevertheless urge Congress to move forward.

The Founders of our country understood that there would be times of extreme disagreement between the branches of government. That is why the Founders made it possible for the Congress to overrule the President, and fulfill their obligation to their constituents. It is time for Congress to utilize their powers to end the partial government shutdown.


You can take action too by writing Congress to end the government shutdown.