Spanberger Meets with Central Virginia Federal Employees Impacted by Longest-Ever Government Shutdown

January 12, 2019
Press Release
This Week, the Congresswoman Voted with a Bipartisan Majority of the U.S. House to Reopen the USDA, FDA, EPA, Department of Transportation, & Other Critical Federal Departments and Agencies

GLEN ALLEN, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger met with Central Virginia federal employees who are negatively impacted by the ongoing 22-day government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history.

During today’s roundtable discussion in Henrico, Spanberger met with local members and leaders of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), who shared personal stories about how the record shutdown is impacting their lives and those they serve, while creating great uncertainty for their families. Attending the meeting were federal employees working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense, as well as retired AFGE members. Among those in attendance, the TSA, HUD, and Bureau of Prisons employees are currently working without pay or furloughed.

“As this shutdown enters unprecedented territory, it’s creating major financial uncertainty for the Commonwealth’s federal workers and their families. As a former federal employee, I know the dedication these public servants display each day as they serve their country, make our communities safer, and provide services that strengthen our economy,” said Spanberger. “Notably, as I asked questions about the impact of the shutdown on their lives, every federal worker present expressed concerns for the people they serve. A HUD employee said, ‘The people we serve are suffering greatly,’ and spoke of the elderly, the children, and the veterans who rely on HUD’s services. The Bureau of Prisons employees expressed concerns about the potentially unsafe conditions in our nation’s prisons and guards working long hours unpaid, while a TSA agent spoke of the stress facing her colleagues who live paycheck to paycheck. As they continue to do their jobs without pay and without an end in sight, they are depending on us, their elected officials, to end the shutdown. Congress must work in a bipartisan way to end this shutdown immediately, because the livelihoods of federal employees and contractors, as well as the safety and security of those they serve hang in the balance. Last week, I voted to pass bipartisan legislation to fully fund the government, and this week, I voted to pass bipartisan legislation that would reopen critical federal departments and agencies. The Senate must immediately pass these bills, which already received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate last year. It’s imperative that we restore the proper function of our government and pay our federal workforce; each additional day this shutdown remains unresolved puts our national security and our economy at greater risk.”

This week, Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a funding bill to help end the ongoing government shutdown and to reopen the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Spanberger also helped pass bipartisan bills that would fully reopen the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—and provide much-needed certainty to their employees and their families.

Since the partial government shutdown began on December 22, 2018, approximately 800,000 federal workers across the country have either worked without pay or have been furloughed.

Background

Since her swearing-in earlier this month, Spanberger has fought to provide peace of mind to federal workers and fully reopen the government. Yesterday, Spanberger introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure military personnel and law enforcement receive their salaries in the event of a lapse in funding or budget impasse, such as the ongoing partial government shutdown. And on her first day in office, Spanberger helped introduce two bills that would make sure federal workers receive backpay once the ongoing government shutdown ends and that Members of Congress do not receive their full salaries during a shutdown.

Last week, Spanberger joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass bipartisan legislation that would end the ongoing government shutdown. The funding package would fully fund most of the federal government through September 30, 2019, and the bill maintains current funding levels for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through February 8, 2019. The legislation also included a provision Spanberger helped introduce to retroactively restore pay that federal employees have been denied during the partial shutdown.

And earlier last week, then-Rep.-Elect Spanberger sent a letter requesting that her Congressional salary be withheld until the government fully reopens and all federal employee pay is restored. Click here to read her full letter.

###