September has begun, and lawmakers are back at work. President Joe Biden traveled today to New Delhi for the annual gathering of the Group of 20 nations. For its part, Congress has returned from its August recess to tackle a busy legislative calendar focused on funding the government for the new fiscal year which starts on Oct. 1, 2023.
Running in the background—both in Washington, D.C. and at the G20 Summit—is tension fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine. It’s never easy for nations to agree on how to address the world’s most pressing needs. The war has deepened this challenge.
Meanwhile, the cost of the Ukraine war continues to mount. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and millions more displaced. The U.S. has invested more than $43 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, and the Biden administration recently requested an additional $24 billion for the war. Just two months after the United States first shipped cluster munitions to Ukraine, a second shipment is already in the works.
We believe that war is never the answer. Still, you don’t have to be a pacifist to recognize the perils inherent in continued military escalation—for Ukrainians, Russians, and the world.
It seems that for lawmakers, like many of us, it can be hard to imagine a meaningful, nonviolent response in a time of war. This month, as we prepare to observe the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, FCNL is hosting a conversation with experts from Nonviolent Peaceforce. We’ll learn how Ukrainians are responding using non-violent approaches on the ground and discuss how advocates can urge Congressional action to support peace worldwide.
This is an opportunity to reset, refocus, and ground our work as we ramp up our advocacy to protect federal investment in peacebuilding on Capitol Hill this month and at FCNL’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute later this fall. I hope you will join us.
Congress Returns With Eyes Set on Avoiding a Government Shutdown
With Congress back in session, lawmakers will need to move quickly on several key bills to fund the government for FY2024 and avoid a government shutdown. As the appropriations process heats up, FCNL is working to protect critical investments in peacebuilding, climate aid, community violence intervention programs, and more.
Iran Reduces Enrichment, Positive Sign For De-Escalation
The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has slowed the pace of its uranium enrichment. This is a positive indication that recent diplomatic efforts between the United States and Iran are working. Last month, the two countries reached an agreement to free American prisoners being held in Iran. These developments demonstrate the promise and need for continued steps to reduce tensions.
Extreme Heat Closes Schools Across the U.S.
As students returned to school, extreme heat caused closures and early dismissals for millions of children across the Midwest and Northeast. Soaring temperatures weren’t limited to the U.S.—half the world’s population faced extreme heat that was worsened by human-caused climate change over the past month. This week’s heat wave is the latest reminder of the need to prioritize global climate aid and take urgent action to mitigate the climate crisis.
U.S. Deports Haitian Asylum Seekers Despite Growing Instability
The U.S. government deported dozens of Haitian asylum seekers last week just one day after issuing a warning to U.S. citizens to leave the country “as soon as possible” due to rising violence and instability. These deportations underscore the need to strengthen protections for vulnerable populations in the U.S. and ensure that those fleeing conflict and instability are not forced to return to dangerous conditions.