Culpeper Star-Exponent: ‘Deliver in a timely fashion’—Spanberger urges House leaders to pass budget, avoid shutdown

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT STAFF

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, Monday pressed House leaders in both parties to pass a budget to avoid yet another government shutdown by the deadline of Sept. 30.

In a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Spanberger urged the lawmakers to avoid gamesmanship that has characterized federal government funding discussions in recent years, according to a release from the congresswoman’s office.

Spanberger emphasized how government shutdowns significantly disrupt the lives of thousands of Virginians.

More than 144,000 Virginia residents are federal government employees—the third highest nationwide, behind Washington, D.C. and California, according to opm.gov.

“On behalf of the Virginians I serve, I urge you to take up and pass legislation to fund the federal government as quickly as possible,” Spanberger said in a statement. “As Members of Congress, one of our chief responsibilities is to pass legislation that funds the activities of the federal government—including critical activities necessary for maintaining our national defense, as well as to ensure the timely delivery of government services to the American people.”

Disagreements and robust debate on policy should be expected, Spanberger said, but the very function of government should never be used as a political bargaining chip.

“Americans deserve and demand better, and it is up to us to put aside our differences and deliver in a timely fashion,” she said in the statement.

Spanberger’s first bill introduced as a Member of Congress was to help prevent future government shutdowns and protect federal workers from being used as negotiating tools in funding talks, the release stated.

Continued federal funding for COVID relief and testing kits is a sticking point among party leaders for possibly not striking a deal on a federal budget. Also up for debate is a budget provision that would speed up the permitting process for renewable energy projects, including for a natural gas pipeline, supported by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

Manchin wants to require all relevant agencies to take the steps necessary to permit the construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 303-mile pipeline, which is mostly finished and would transport natural gas across West Virginia and Virginia, according to the Associated Press.

The proposed route crosses more than 1,100 streams and will disturb 6,951 acres, including 4,168 acres that have the potential for severe water erosion, according to AP. When fully complete, the pipeline will deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to markets in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Legal battles have delayed completion by nearly four years and doubled the pipeline’s cost, now estimated at $6.6 billion, AP reported.

House Democratic leaders are working on a tentative plan to take up a temporary spending bill this week that would extend current government funding levels through Dec. 16, Roll Call reported earlier this month.

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