A wide-ranging coalition of liberal political groups has a message for President Joe Biden in case he was thinking of making concessions to congressional Republicans to avoid a potential government shutdown: Don’t.
In a Wednesday letter obtained by HuffPost, the group, under the banner ProsperUS, urged Biden to not give in to “extremists in Congress” wanting to undo economic successes that have kept joblessness below 4% and seen the economy post a 4.9% growth rate in the most recent quarter.
“Our coalition, which represents communities across the country fighting for a just and inclusive economy, expects you to reject any funding vehicle that cuts a penny more from the critical programs that enable our economy to thrive,” the groups said.
ProsperUS includes a variety of old-line and newer liberal advocacy groups, including the Center for American Progress, the unions Communications Workers of America and Service Employees International Union, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, as well as Indivisible, the Working Families Party and Groundwork Collaborative.
A September deal reached by the White House and congressional Republicans to keep the government open only lasts through Nov. 17. A shutdown would start the next day if another stopgap spending measure is not passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by Biden.
But the September deal quickly set off a different shutdown — one in the House of Representatives after a faction of GOP hard-liners challenged the leadership of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), leading to his removal on Oct. 3 and three weeks of paralysis as Republicans struggled to pick his successor.
New Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has yet to settle on a strategy to avoid either a shutdown or the same fate as McCarthy. House Republicans discussed the issue at a party meeting Tuesday but came to no consensus.
“With regard to the funding of the government, we’re working earnestly on that,” Johnson said that day. “We certainly want to avoid a government shutdown.”
He said the meeting included “very deliberate, positive discussions about the many options on the table” but didn’t elaborate.
House Republicans have generally insisted that they want to avoid one massive bill to approve spending for all government agencies, instead aiming to break that up into the regular 12 individual bills or a smaller number of bills that would cover several agencies at once.
But passing the individual bills has proved difficult, with one for the Agriculture Department failing on the floor and one for transportation and housing agencies being pulled before a vote.
In its letter to Biden, the ProsperUS coalition said a separate agreement made in May between the White House and Republicans would already result in cuts to domestic programs that many Americans rely on.
“With another threat of a government shutdown looming, we urge you and members of Congress to brush aside the threats of a small group of extremists and prioritize delivering appropriations bills that invest in workers, families, and communities, and keep this strong, inclusive economy humming,” the coalition wrote.