Inevitable. That’s the word lawmakers are using today to describe the likelihood of a government shutdown as the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year draws closer.

It didn’t have to be this way. Lawmakers struck a budget agreement in June as part of negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. It outlined a framework for funding the government intended to avoid this very scenario.

Since then, the Senate has moved forward largely in good faith, negotiating bipartisan spending bills within the agreed-upon limits. When it became clear that lawmakers would not finalize all 12 of their spending bills for Fiscal Year 2024 by the Sept. 30 deadline, senators moved—again in a bipartisan fashion—to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government open as they resume this work.

Things look very different in the House, where a small group of 10 extremist lawmakers has turned their backs on the June agreement, demanding additional spending reductions below negotiated levels and the inclusion of harmful policies (including harsh immigration measures) in exchange for their votes.

Shutdowns are never good. They put the nation’s economy at risk, delay or interrupt services to millions, harm our ability to support lifesaving initiatives worldwide, and disrupt the jobs of over a million federal workers. They’re also very expensive.

By shutting down the government to extract additional cuts in federal spending, this small group of extremist lawmakers is showing that they are willing to throw the country into chaos to score political points. 

That is frustrating—no question. But now is not the time to give up. We engage in advocacy as part of the federal budget and appropriations process precisely because we know what a profound impact government programs have on the lives of people in the United States and worldwide. That most of our elected officials are working earnestly to identify compromises and legislate across their differences indicates that the obstacles before us can be overcome.

In the coming days, lawmakers will be pressured to reopen the government at any cost. It will be up to advocates like us to hold them to account. We must work together to ensure that they keep to previously agreed spending levels, reject further spending cuts, and protect investments in critical programs to prevent conflict and atrocities worldwide, respond to the climate crisis, and meet the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors here and abroad.

Stay tuned for updates as the deadline is reached.


Congressional Support Builds for War Powers Reform
For more than five years, FCNL advocates have urged Congress to end endless war and reassert its oversight of U.S. military operations. The fruits of that advocacy were apparent in recent days as a bipartisan group of lawmakers publicly called for action to repeal the 2002 Iraq war authorization, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss repeal of the 2002 and 2001 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Across Industries, Groups Urge Investment in Global Climate Relief
At last year’s U.N. climate talks, world leaders created a fund to help low-income countries address unavoidable climate harm. This week, FCNL joined more than 100 environmental, business, and other advocacy groups in calling on President Joe Biden to make an “ambitious” pledge to the second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund.

US Approves Sale to Saudi Arabia
The Biden Administration approved a $500 million sale of spare and repair parts to Saudi Arabia’s military. This sale, the first since 2021, suggests a thawing of U.S.-Saudi relations despite the nation’s recent mass killing of migrants and record of human rights abuses. We urge Congress to block the sale.

Acknowledging Harm, Calling for Healing on Orange Shirt Day
Sept. 30 marks the National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools, an Indigenous-led grassroots effort to raise awareness of the far-reaching intergenerational impacts of the boarding school era. Orange Shirt Day honors survivors and the children who never returned home from Indian boarding schools, their families, and their communities. You can engage with this effort by learning morewriting Congress, and by wearing orange.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a national, nonpartisan Quaker organization that lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, and environmental stewardship. This Week in the World. The FCNL weekly newsletter of advocacy actions and updates and opportunities to take action on the issues you care about.