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To the relief of federal employees, families, advocacy organizations, and constituents across the country, Congress came to an agreement last weekend that would keep the government running for 45 more days. Despite harmful, partisan rhetoric and threats for weeks leading up to the Sept. 30 deadline, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reversed course and led the way for a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to be signed by President Biden.

Our Advocacy Paid Off

This agreement represents exactly what FCNL and our network of advocates had urged Congress to do from the start—pass a clean CR with no drama. It also demonstrates that lawmakers can put aside partisan ideology and work together for the good of the American people and the world. 

Now that they’ve got just over six weeks to pass spending bills that protect and invest in key peace and justice programs, our message to lawmakers is simple: stick to the deal.

Our message to lawmakers is simple: stick to the deal.

Forty-five days is a tight timeline to craft a spending agreement for FY 2024, especially when debates over meeting basic human needs have defined the process to date. We are grateful for former Speaker McCarthy’s pivot Saturday night, a course-correction that largely cost him the speakership, a chance Rep. McCarthy was willing to take as he told an aide Saturday night, “You know what? If I have to risk my job for standing up for the American public, I will do that.” 

Rather than more political antics, we encourage lawmakers to keep that same energy, and we will keep ours. 

Advance and Protect Funding for Peace and Justice Programs 

From now through mid-November, FCNL will urge Congress to protect and invest in programs that are vital to helping families and addressing the needs of our country and our world. Specifically, lawmakers have an opportunity to:

  • Make a meaningful impact in fostering sustainable peace and preventing violent conflict around the world
  • Help to make our communities safer by dedicating federal funding to violence interruption programs. 
  • Support children and families through nutrition assistance programs. Children and families nationwide could face program refusal or cuts to their WIC benefits under proposed funding bills, despite recently released 2022 Census poverty data detailing the devastating impact of cuts to essential anti-poverty programs. How our government helps people in need is a measure of our nation’s character. 
  • Invest in humane migration programs that welcome asylum seekers and migrants with dignity and address root causes in countries where poverty-driven instability and violence precipitate movement. During the CR negotiation, members threw harmful anti-immigrant programs into the mix. Such policies remain a constant threat throughout the FY2024 appropriations process.
  • Support funding to address climate impact globally. The United States is one of the leading historic emitters of the greenhouse gases that are fueling climate change. Yet, developing countries find themselves shouldering a disproportionate amount of the burden. The United States’ moral obligation to restore the earth and protect vulnerable communities transcends partisanship.

Our Advocacy Continues 

Lawmakers could decide to shirk their responsibility altogether and not adhere to the Biden-McCarthy budget deal. Extreme cuts to life-sustaining programs remain a goal of many lawmakers. And we haven’t cleared the possibility of hostile attempts to include egregious border “security” provisions in the FY 2024 plan. 

We urge Congress to pass funding that safeguards children and families and invests in peace in the United States and around the world.

Still, we cannot stand for lawmakers pushing harmful policy agendas at the expense of people’s survival. We must work together to hold them accountable. 

You can be a part of this effort by joining us at FCNL’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute, Nov. 15-19 in Washington, D.C. Coincidentally, or perhaps prophetically, the current CR runs out on Nov. 17—the day we will head to the Hill with constituents from around the country to urge lawmakers to invest in peace. Challenge accepted.

We urge Congress to pass funding that safeguards children and families and invests in peace in the United States and around the world.

Kristen Archer

Kristen Archer

Social Media & Editorial Director

Kristen helps to engage and expand FCNL’s online community and amplify its voice through social media. In this role, she also develops long-form editorial content and serves as an in-house writing trainer for Program Assistants and other colleagues.