End the Government Shutdown and Raise the Debt Ceiling

Oct. 10, 2013

Lawmakers’ failure to pass a real budget by Oct. 1, combined with their inability to agree on raising the debt ceiling before Oct. 17, costs our economy billions of dollars and affects millions of Americans with each day that the impasse continues.

Our lawmakers are not doing their jobs. The government shutdown and impending debt ceiling are not a game, although some lawmakers treat it as such. This situation seriously threatens our lives, our livelihood, and our future.

We must demand a solution. We demand that Congress pass a clean budget – with no strings attached – and raise the debt ceiling, immediately.

And once we are past this crisis, we must make sure this never happens again.

Government Shutdown

On Oct. 1, 2013, the federal government shut down because Congress failed to do its job of passing a budget for fiscal year 2014. The House and Senate couldn’t agree on even a short-term spending bill to keep the government running largely due to the fact that Republicans hijacked the budget process in an attempt to end the Affordable Care Act.

During the shutdown, government operations across the nation have ground to a halt. Hundreds of thousands of employees are furloughed and many critical federal services have ceased operations.

Read our Government Shutdown Fact Sheet to get the full details.

The Debt Ceiling

Oct. 17 is the day the U.S. Treasury has estimated it will run out of funds to pay the bills our nation currently owes, unless Congress authorizes an increase in the debt ceiling. As with the government shutdown, lawmakers are at an impasse because Republicans have said they won’t allow an increase in the debt ceiling without some combination of cuts to safety-net programs like Medicare and Social Security, changes to Obamacare, or tax reform that lowers tax rates and raises no new tax revenue.

If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury will default on its debt payments as well as lapse on payments to government programs, such as Social Security checks for retirees. This is expected to have a catastrophic impact on the global economy.

Read our Debt Ceiling Fact Sheet to get the full details.

What You Can Do

1. Contact your legislators

You can end the government shutdown in three minutes! Find contact information for your legislators here. Then, use this script to call your lawmakers and request two critical actions:

  1. Ask Speaker Boehner to bring a spending bill to a vote on the House floor and pass a “clean CR.”
  2. Raise the debt ceiling at once so our nation can pay its bills on time.

2. Sign our letter to Tell Congress: Do Your Job

Sign our online petition to Speaker Boehner and Congress asking them to resolve this crisis immediately and pledging to hold them accountable to do their jobs.

3. Get Active on Social Media

Tweet directly to your Congressperson -- use these sample tweets to make your voice heard:

  • Congress needs to do its job: Pass a budget and pay the bills--just like the rest of us. http://bit.ly/doyourjob #shutdown #justvote
  • What happens to YOU when you don't do your job for ten days? Congress hasn't done theirs in a DECADE! http://bit.ly/doyourjob #shutdown
  • Congress renamed bridges this year, but let gov't shut down. What do they think their job is, exactly? http://bit.ly/doyourjob #shutdown
  • @SpeakerBoehner thinks getting gov't running = "unconditional surrender." We think Congress should do its job. http://bit.ly/doyourjob

Or retweet:

Visit NPP's twitter feed for more!

Activate your social media networks by “liking” NPP’s shutdown campaign on Facebook, and sharing it with your friends.

4. Don't Let This Happen Again

Crisis has become business as usual in Washington. We cannot let this happen again. Here’s what you can do to take back our federal budget process and hold our lawmakers accountable for their constitutional responsibilities:

  1. Familiarize yourself with our nation’s federal budget process, and how it’s supposed to work.
  2. Find out how budget decisions – even when we’re not in crisis mode – affect your family and local community.
  3. Sign up for NPP’s email alerts to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with our nation’s budget process before it gets to a crisis point.
  4. Contact your legislators on a regular basis to communicate your priorities for this nation. 

More Resources:

Want to Learn More about the Budget Process & Federal Debt?


U.S. Treasury, Congressional Research Service