N.H. leaders want government open

NASHUA – “It’s unconscionable that survivors of sexual and domestic violence will be unwitting victims in President Trump’s ongoing shutdown,” U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., said.

The federal government shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history, and members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation are concerned funding for state programs aimed at curbing sexual and domestic violence could expire.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said jeopardizing such resources is “shameful” and “unacceptable.”

Due to the ongoing shutdown, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) and three of its member programs are unable to access funds they receive directly from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

If government does not reopen, the absence of these funds will impact the availability of critical support services for victims of domestic and sexual violence in certain New Hampshire communities, which could potentially create unsafe situations for these victims. Additionally, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire last month. Kuster said Congress should immediately reauthorize this.

“The only person who appears to not want to see the government reopened is President Trump,” Kuster said.

“These organizations provide life-saving services to survivors across New Hampshire and the country, and it would be a moral failure to allow these groups to run out of funding because of the president’s reckless shutdown,” Shaheen said. “To that end, I urge Senate Republican leadership to finally allow a vote on Republican-authorized funding legislation that has already passed the House so we can reopen the government and end this shutdown immediately.”

Coalition Director of Public Affairs Amanda Grady Sexton said crisis centers rely on this federal funding to assist survivors in accessing emergency housing, ensuring victims of sexual assault have support when going to the hospital for a rape kit, and to help victims of stalking develop safety plans for themselves and their children.

“Without support from the federal government, life-saving support services will become inaccessible and victims will be put in greater danger,” Sexton said.

U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., said, without crisis center funding, victims will have fewer places to turn to when experiencing a time of great need. He said survivors should not have to wait another day for a sense of safety and security, adding that people will be adversely impacted if Trump does not end this shutdown.

“This government shutdown continues to make Americans less safe, and the effect on domestic and sexual violence survivors is a powerful reminder of what is at stake,” Pappas said.

With a similar thought in mind, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said, “This is just one more example of how this politically motivated shutdown is devastating for so many Granite Staters and Americans, and it is time for these games to stop and for the president to end this shutdown.”

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.