As government shutdown approaches, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries calls Republicans ‘reckless’

“The shutdown will devastate parts of the economy, and that will have an adverse impact on everyday Americans, communities of color,” Jeffries told theGrio.

A federal government shutdown is imminent unless members of Congress act fast to pass a short-term funding bill this weekend.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told theGrio that if House Republicans do not take action, a government shutdown will devastate Black and brown Americans beginning Oct. 1.

“The shutdown will devastate parts of the economy, and that will have an adverse impact on everyday Americans, particularly those struggling right now, including in communities of color,” he said.

US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during the weekly briefing at the US Capitol on September 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. US Republicans began impeachment inquiry hearings into Joe Biden on Thursday, escalating an eight-month corruption investigation that has failed to uncover evidence of wrongdoing by the president. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Congress’ first Black party leader called House Republicans’ behavior “reckless.”

“All [House Republicans] have to do is put a bill on the floor for an up or down vote that comes over from the Senate that will be bipartisan in nature and keep the agreement that they themselves negotiated,” Jeffries said, referring to a budget deal negotiated between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden to avert a default on the nation’s debt.

At this time, House Republicans have rejected the Senate’s spending bill that would fund the government – at least temporarily.  

The GOP has demanded billions of dollars in cuts, which include slashing aid for low-income mothers, Meals on Wheels for seniors, and funding for public schools in low-income areas.

If House Republicans refuse to pass legislation to stop the government from a partial shutdown, thousands of federal employees will be furloughed, active military members, air traffic controllers and TSA agents will be expected to work without pay, and low-income Americans may be cut off from receiving food assistance benefits.

Since Congress has not yet approved longer-term legislation, which includes 12 different spending bills to fund the government, it needs to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open temporarily while members negotiate.

U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told theGrio that House Republicans are to blame for a possible government shutdown.

“There’s no doubt who’s to blame here because they’re not serious about governing,” he said.

“When you talk about cutting education funding by 80%. When you’re talking about 8% cuts to every federal agency, that’s not governance. That’s dysfunction. That’s what they’re about, and that’s why we won’t stand for it.”

Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., told theGrio, “The low-hanging fruit, of course, are the most vulnerable amongst us.”

Washington , D.C. – January 26 : Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-NY., speaks with other lawmakers about Border Policies during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, January 26, 2023, in Washington DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The congresswoman said she is concerned that Black female entrepreneurs who have contracts with the federal government will particularly feel the impacts of a government shutdown as well.

“Women entrepreneurs who have finally gotten through the federal contracting process and are providing services to the federal government…will not be paid for those contracts,” said Clarke.

The New York lawmaker said, “There will be a ripple effect in Black and brown communities because we’ve finally begun to crack the code in federal contracting.”

To prevent a government shutdown this weekend, Congress must pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., told theGrio that House Republicans “are doing everything that” they can to avert a government shutdown.

“Democrats are complaining about shutdowns, but Democrats shutdown America during COVID-19,” said the conservative firebrand. “Small businesses were closed. Kids were behind for two years. So Democrats shouldn’t be complaining.”

Congressman Bowman countered Greene’s statement, telling theGrio, “Wasn’t [the COVID-19 shutdown] during Trump’s presidency?”

Left to right: U.S. Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. (Photo: Getty Images)

“Republicans haven’t been serious about governing since the beginning of the term. It took 14 votes to elect their speaker. That’s the first time in history that’s happened,” he said.

“When we almost went over the debt ceiling, that’s because of Republicans holding the American economy hostage, and now we’re on the brink of a government shutdown, which probably will happen because of their incompetence and dysfunction,” Bowman continued.

Rep. Clarke told theGrio the bottom line is, “We had an agreement that was negotiated, which is being reneged upon by McCarthy and the GOP.”

“There was a debt ceiling negotiation that included the ability for us to get past sort of this budgetary crisis. Now [House Republicans] are putting us all in jeopardy,” she said.  

If a shutdown occurs this weekend, it is unclear how long it will last. There have been 20 government shutdowns in the last four decades, with the latest taking place in 2018 under the Trump administration. That shutdown lasted for 34 days.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!