Talking Points & Sample Script Around Government Shutdown


  • I represent federal workers at the EPA, here in CITY/STATE.
  • Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local ____ are calling on elected officials in the United States Congress to pass appropriations to avoid a costly government shutdown. Members of Local ___ represents employees at ___  or employees in _____.
  • We condemn the needless political grandstanding currently occurring in Washington and demand that members of Congress do everything in their power to prevent a costly government shutdown. 
  • A government shutdown will damage America’s economy. None other than Goldman Sachs estimates that the U.S. GDP would lose “a 0.2 percentage point per week once private sector effects were included.”
  • A shutdown will force hundreds of thousands of American workers to work without a paycheck or be locked out of their jobs. The last time Congress shutdown, for 35 days, nearly 800,000 federal workers either were required to work without pay or were furloughed from their jobs. A quarter of federal workers are U.S. military veterans. (State if you are a veteran.)
  • The last shutdown cost the US economy $11 Billion, $3 Billion of which was never recovered.
  • A shutdown will prevent Americans from accessing government services. 
  • 93% of EPA’s workforce is expected to be furloughed. 
  • A shut down will undermine EPA’s work to protect  public health and the environment.
  • Most EPA-led inspections at hazardous waste sites as well as drinking water and chemical facilities would stop.
  • EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to ensure safe water and clean air in communities.
  • Grants for new infrastructure work will not go through, pushing new construction work into the next “construction season”  – causing delays of many months.
  • Efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS— which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer—would be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites would slow or cease.
  • The shutdown would endanger EPA’s disaster response and would complicate new emergency response efforts if additional catastrophic disasters occur. Funding for long-term recovery projects would also remain halted, worsening ongoing delays as EPA awaits new appropriations. Examples of complication are delays in mobilizing EPA responders, hiring contractors and obtaining resources to carry out response work.
  • We want to continue to serve our communities, not be locked out because of tired political games in Washington.
  • The most recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) found that 78 percent of employees believed that their federal organizations were successful at accomplishing their missions.
  • It’s time for politicians to stop putting petty political grievances ahead of the needs of the American economy and its citizens.
  • In 2018-19, our government stopped functioning for 35 days because our leaders in Washington put petty partisan politics over the good of our citizens. Three years later, it looks like we may be hurtling towards yet another shutdown.
  • Our members and federal workers nationwide work tirelessly to protect human health and the environment. In playing “hardball” with funding for agencies like ours, means we’re only hurting ourselves as a nation. 
  • We are calling on (Congress or Representative) to prevent a costly, needless shutdown and to vote to fund our government.

Council 238 Script for Shutdown Video

Council 238 is looking for folks to do videos for social media.  We are hoping to have one video for each day of the shutdown highlighted on social media. The video should cover your name, what you do for EPA, and that you are speaking out for the union. Then, the video should have 1-2 sentences on how the shutdown will affect the public if your EPA job is not done. Optional is one more sentence on how the shutdown is affecting your life and family.  Please end the video with “Stop the Shutdown, now.” (Our hashtag is #StoptheShutdown.) 

Here’s a sample script:

“Hi, my name is ____. I work for EPA. I work in (enforcement of environmental laws, air permits, EJ, PFAS control, climate change, brownfields, etc.). I am speaking out for my union, AFGE —— During the government shutdown, (facilities will not be inspected and data from violating facilities will not be reviewed, hazardous waste will not be removed, properties will not be made safe for the public to use, etc.) Also, I will (not be paid a salary and my student loans are at risk of default.) Please stop the shutdown now! Thank you.”

It should take 20 seconds, tops! Please send to Nicole Cantello via email – [email protected] 

Thanks to all for helping and pls send this to others in your union.