With the Senate set to vote Thursday on two competing plans to reopen the government—a White House-backed measure with billions in border wall funding and a short-term Democratic resolution with no wall money—progressive advocacy groups on Wednesday launched a nationwide call-in day pressuring senators to unite against President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant shutdown and pass the "clean" legislation.
Denouncing the "extreme" Trump-backed bill that "reads like [White House adviser] Stephen Miller's wish list," Indivisible urged people to flood the phone lines of their representatives and urge them to pass the bill with no wall funding, which has already cleared the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
"A majority of the American public doesn't want to pay for Trump's wall; they just want Republicans in Congress to open up the government," Indivisible declared. "It's important that we first block Trump's anti-immigrant bill, and then put pressure on Republicans to do the right thing and open up the government by passing a clean [continuing resolution]."
In order to pass, the clean measure needs every Senate Democrat as well as 13 Republicans to vote yes. If the bill is passed and signed by Trump, it would fund the government through Feb. 8.
TODAY: we’re organizing a movement-wide call-in day to let our MoCs know we want them to reopen the government. Use this number 1-844-236-2373 and it’ll connect you to BOTH of your Senators offices. Tag us in videos/pictures for us to share and motivate others! pic.twitter.com/UBh3MZa7S1
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) January 23, 2019
In an email to supporters on Wednesday, MoveOn.org described Thursday's vote as a major opportunity for Senate Democrats to temporarily reopen the government "without making a moral compromise."
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"This could be our moment to open the government and shut down Trump's wall," MoveOn declared. "The Trump shutdown has now lasted over a month, holding more than 800,000 government workers, contractors, and their families hostage for an initial down payment of $5 billion for Trump's border wall and more racist, anti-immigrant policies designed to hurt immigrant communities."
"We can't let this stand," the group continued. "Trump must not learn that shutting down the government is an effective tactic to get his way."
Pissed off that Trump is withholding pay for over 800,000 American workers during his #TrumpShutdown? Text RAGE to 668366 to rage at your Senator and demand they open the government without a hateful and wasteful wall.
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) January 23, 2019
Progressives' pressure campaign comes as around 800,000 federal workers are facing the prospect of missing a second paycheck on Friday if the government does not reopen before then. Though Trump signed legislation last week that would guarantee back-pay to federal workers after the shutdown ends, many furloughed or unpaid government employees are struggling to afford rent, bills, and food in the absence of a regular paycheck.
To protest this widespread economic hardship, federal workers gathered inside the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday for a 33-minute silent demonstration—representing the 33 days the government has been shut down over Trump's demand for border wall funding.