News Department

Gottheimer stands with law enforcement, firefighters as government shutdown threatens public safety and national security

Announces Bipartisan Plan to Stop Shutdown

NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday joined New Jersey law enforcement, first responders, and local leaders to sound the alarm on the devastating impacts a government shutdown will have on public safety and national security.

Last week, the 64 members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which Gottheimer co-chairs, endorsed a bipartisan framework to avoid a government shutdown.

The last shutdown in 2019 cost taxpayers $66 million a day – or more than 2.2 billion over the 34 days it lasted. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the last shutdown cost our economy $11 billion dollars in just five weeks.

Government shutdown impacts on military and first responders:

  • Halt pay to more than a million service men and women. The Blue Star Families organization says one in three military families has less than $3,000 in savings, which is not nearly enough to cover the cost of housing and child care.
  • Federal law enforcement, who are critical to keeping our communities safe and protecting our national security, will also go without pay, and their operations could be put on hold or slowed down.
  • Major national and international operations, including combating drug traffickers and terrorists and securing our borders could be interrupted.
  • Jeopardize federal investments for key programs like SAFER, LESO, AFG, and COPS grants that protect our police.
  • Since 2017, Gottheimer has helped first responders in New Jersey’s Fifth District claw back nearly $35 million from Washington. That averages to $480,000 per month. If the government shuts down, our local police and firefighters stand to lose nearly half a million in grant dollars to protect themselves and our communities every month.
  • Threaten countless defense projects, from fighter jets to naval destroyers – key to our national security.


A government shutdown will also:

  • Freeze new investments for the federal school meals program, meals on wheels for seniors, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for lower-income pregnant and nursing women, babies, and young children, and for SNAP to help lower-income families with their groceries.
  • Put at risk support for veterans, seniors, and childcare.
  • Impact the economy, infrastructure projects, federal food inspections, the safety of our nation’s transportation, and will cost jobs, profits, and economic growth.

Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus continuing resolution framework to stop the government shutdown includes: 

  • Passage of an FY24 full-year appropriations package by January 11, 2024 that adheres to the parameters and funding levels agreed upon in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
  • The President’s funding request for Ukraine with transparency and federal disaster response.
    A border security solution with enforcement through the 2024 calendar year.
  • Adopting bipartisan budget process reform recommendations of the House Committee on Modernization and Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to increase transparency, restore regular order, and prevent excessive use of CRs.
  • Creating a Fiscal Commission to review and recommend a package to stabilize long-term deficits and debt and require CBO to consider the cost of servicing the debt in its estimations.

“In just five weeks, the last shutdown cost our economy $11 billion dollars. That’s jobs that aren’t being created, raises that aren’t given, and money that’s not being pumped back into our economy. The credit rating service Moody’s even said a shutdown would be a negative hit on America’s credit, sending inflation up, and America’s reputation in the world down. The only winner: the government of China that’s dying to see us falter, adding to a black eye that we narrowly avoided with the debt ceiling fight,” said Gottheimer, Problem Solvers Caucus Co-chair. “Despite the countless sacrifices made by service members and first responders, in only five days, if the far-right extremists in Congress have their way, and a short-term funding bill isn’t passed, the federal government will shut down, jeopardizing America’s public safety and our national security.”

“But I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. This is the same group of ultra-right extremists that tried to get the country to default on our debt, and send our economy into a tailspin. This is the same group that voted multiple times to block key legislation for our national defense. This past week, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which I Co-Chair, put forth and endorsed a framework that keeps the government open, addresses our nation’s longer-term fiscal health, and includes fiscally responsible measures,” Gottheimer said.

“As firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers our jobs are to keep the communities we serve safe. The job of Congress is to keep the federal government running, providing us the resources we need to serve those communities,” said Vice President of the NJFMBA Wayne Wolk. “We can’t threaten not to do our jobs, but Congress is threatening not to do theirs. We are grateful to Congressman Gottheimer for being a sensible voice and fighter for solutions.”

“What a government shutdown means in the eyes of the fire service: it affects every level. Nationally, you’ll see every one of our military bases protected by our federal firefighters and we’re going to ask those guys to come to work but not receive a paycheck — I think that’s a big ask. Our federal wildland firefighters, 19,000 of them, will most likely receive a drastic pay cut. The effects of that will be long-term because many of them will be forced to seek out other employment. They’re the lowest-paid firefighters as it is, if not for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill a couple of years ago, they’d still be earning around minimum wage. These folks will have no choice but to be forced to look for other work if the shutdown goes through,” said Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) President Steve McConlogue. “Now we bring it home to the state and local level… we rely heavily on SAFER grants which put staffing on firetrucks, we rely on AFG grants which provide equipment and necessary training. These grant programs will undoubtedly be hindered. The personnel who administer them will most likely be furloughed with departments in this state whether cities or municipalities many of them depend on these grants to stay operations to stay safe, to provide that service to their residents.”

Earlier in September, Gottheimer announced a “Stop School Hunger Strategy” to protect school breakfast and lunch threatened by government shutdown.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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