People For the American Way

PFAW Joins Coalition to Rally Against Another Government Shutdown

People For in Action

Last month, the federal government shut down for a total of 35 days, making it the longest shutdown in modern history. During this time, thousands of federal employees, contractors, and their families suffered through missed paychecks and weeks of tumultuous back-and-forth between Congress and President Trump. Although the government did reopen, funding was only approved for several weeks, contingent on further negotiations regarding the border and whether Congress would fund Trump’s racist, vanity wall. Now, with funding running out again on Friday, many federal employees are demanding that Trump agree to the tentative agreement laid out earlier this week by members of Congress to avoid another catastrophic shutdown. To help elevate these concerns, PFAW joined a coalition of organizations and employees who rallied for the government to remain open.

The event started as a conference about Social Security expansion hosted by the American Federation of Government Employees (“AFGE”) on the top floor of the Hart Senate Office Building. Prominent organizers and several members of Congress spoke about a proposed bill making its way through Congress now which would expand and protect Social Security. Bernie Sanders, D-V.T., gave a speech about how Congress will never allocate enough of its budget to working-class Americans until they stand up and demand it. Cory Booker, D-N.J., explained that America was built on collective conscience and organizing, which is a trait many in power have grown to resent. He encouraged the crowd to try and reignite this attitude of looking out for one another, and explained that the shutdown showed how working-class Americans are the ones who suffer most when politicians don’t do their jobs.

Activists then headed to the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. J. David Cox, President of AFGE, gave a brief speech about how the government federal workshutdown impacted thousands of families and the importance of everyone continuing to put pressure on their congressperson to ensure that we never have to endure another shutdown of this magnitude. He then instructed protestors to stand in silence for 35 minutes to symbolize the 35 days of the shutdown.

After the 35 minutes passed, J. David Cox gave another brief speech about what actions people can take if Congress does not pass another resolution in the coming days, and stated that he would be on Capitol Hill every single day until a deal was reached. He then asked that everyone call their Congressperson and then led organizers in a few brief chants before the rally concluded.


Bernie Sanders, border wall, Cory Booker, Donald Trump, government shutdown, Immigration, Kirsten Gillibrand, rallying, Social Security