Today marks seven days since a small faction of Tea Party Republicans forced the federal government into a shutdown. For seven days, we’ve seen Tea Party leaders like Ted Cruz pontificate from the Senate Floor about his mission to defund the Affordable Care Act. We’ve seen Michelle Bachman on the news explaining why this shutdown brings a smile to her face. And we’ve seen almost no realistic progress towards a resolution as we stare into the face of yet another self-inflicted financial crisis on the debt ceiling next week.
But there are faces across the country we are not seeing in this funding fight, and many of them are members of our communities, our towns, and our Commonwealth, that we don’t even realize are being affected by this Tea Party turmoil. Over the weekend, countless victims of domestic violence and rape may have been turned away from safe houses and support programs that were forced to shut down due to lost funding.
“Domestic violence and rape crisis service providers across the country have received notice from federal officials that if the government shutdown carries on past Friday, they will no longer have access to the federal funds that keep them open and running, leaving countless victims stranded.”
These are the faces I think about the most in times like this. They are the most vulnerable members of our communities that need our helping hand.
When I was at the State House, I passed legislation and directed funding to the very types of programs that are closing their doors today. I helped pass the bill that guarantees victims of sexual assault emergency contraception in every hospital in Massachusetts. I also serve on the board for REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, an organization that helps the 1 in 4 women and families that are victims of domestic violence. I got the White Ribbon Campaign off the ground in Massachusetts, empowering men across the Commonwealth to stand strong as allies against domestic violence.
Today, we saw the shutdown reaching those who deserve our best, our veterans. Northeastern University president, Joseph E. Aoun brought to light the dozens of veterans that have lost access to higher education because the government is shut down and cannot help pay their bills.
“The cutoff affects as many as two dozen service members who plan to begin classes at Northeastern next week and may be forced to withdraw, university officials said… ‘Our active-duty military, Reserve, and National Guard members who put their lives on the line to protect us deserve far better from their country than to be prevented from accessing the higher education benefits they were promised.’”
I could not agree more with Joseph Aoun. Massachusetts is home to 385,000 veterans and they deserve everything we promised them for their service. The inability to make progress on our future in Washington should not hold up the lives of our service men and women who are home from war and reentering the middle class. Education is the key to a better future and its skyrocketing expense should not be left unfunded for veterans after it was promised in return for service. They, and the American people, deserve far better than what they are seeing on display in Washington today.
These issues have mattered to me my entire life. These issues have human faces that are real and it is long past time that Congressional Republicans come to the table with honesty intentions to pass a budget. That’s why I’m running for Congress. Because this is a tough time and we need representatives who will stand strong on their values when the opposition is ignoring those who need help for their own political fortune.
I will be that voice for the 5th, and I look forward to the opportunity to win your vote on October 15.