Keeping our country safe should never be a partisan issue

CULPEPER STAR EXPONENT, REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER

Earlier this month, I was sworn into office as a U.S. Representative serving the people of Central Virginia. The moment was special. Before I took the oath of office, I was surrounded by the warm presence of hundreds of old and new friends from Virginia’s 7th District. We talked about the need to pursue smart policies in Congress that can build stronger educational and economic opportunities across our district.

But constituents also expressed serious concerns about the issue dominating their television screens in the commonwealth and across the nation: the ongoing government shutdown and its crisis-level impacts on federal employees and their families.

At that moment, our federal government had been in a partial shutdown for almost two weeks—and hardworking public servants were deeply concerned as they saw their very livelihoods being used as mere bargaining chips.

We are still in the middle of this hyper-partisan and reckless shutdown. This impasse could have long-lasting, detrimental impacts on our economy, federal workers, and our national security.

Departments and agencies central to our national security and public safety, including the FBI, State Department, TSA, and air traffic controllers are currently making tenuous decisions about staffing and their essential work functions.

And even though they are protecting and serving their fellow citizens each day during the shutdown, critical law enforcement officials are working without pay.

As a former federal employee, I understand the commitment to country that led federal employees to public service.

Now many are calling our offices as they wonder how they will make ends meet.

Congress must act so that federal workers aren’t pushed to the edge of bankruptcy due to a shutdown again.

On my first day in office, I helped introduce two bills: one that would ensure federal employees working without pay receive the back pay they deserve; and a second bill that would cut the pay members of Congress receive during a shutdown.

If our representatives can’t carry out their basic job duties, they shouldn’t expect their full salaries.

And to limit the effects on those who protect our communities, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., that would protect the pay of federal law enforcement and military personnel during shutdowns.

Keeping our country safe should never be a partisan issue, and I was proud to introduce this vital bill to maintain financial security for those who put their lives on the line for their fellow citizens.

Let me be clear—I’m no stranger to the challenges facing our borders, ports of entry, and the needs of the dedicated men and women who protect them.

As a CIA officer, I worked counterterrorism and counternarcotics cases, and I have an acute awareness about the threats facing our country, both foreign and domestic.

I’m always willing to have a conversation about strengthening our national security in a long-term, comprehensive, and cost-effective manner. But we should be able to engage in these critical discussions without keeping the government closed.

As the shutdown drags on, I’ll keep fighting to reopen our government immediately. Our district has priorities we need to address—from boosting broadband internet access to making sure prescription drugs are affordable for our neighbors. And to achieve success in these areas, we need a fully operational government.

Recent Posts


Feb 22, 2024
Press

Spanberger Urges Health Insurers to Fully Cover Birth Control, As Required by the Affordable Care Act

This Effort Comes After Years of Systemic Noncompliance by Insurance Plans & Women Paying Out of Pocket or Facing Administrative Red Tape to Access Birth Control WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined more than 150 U.S. House and U.S. Senate colleagues in urging health insurers to improve access to birth control by […]



Feb 21, 2024
Press

Spanberger Announces Sixth Annual Congressional Art Competition, Invites Virginia High School Students to Submit Artwork

The Winner’s Artwork Will Be Displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for One Year Alongside Winners from All 50 States WOODBRIDGE, Va. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today invited high school students from Virginia’s Seventh District to submit original artwork for the annual Congressional Art Competition. Every year, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives […]



Feb 16, 2024
Press

ICYMI: Spanberger Hosts Virtual Telephone Town Hall Focused on Issues Facing Virginia Veterans & Military Families

During Thursday’s Interactive Event, the Congresswoman & Representatives from the Virginia Department of Veterans Services Were Joined by More Than 4,100 Virginians WOODBRIDGE, Va. — On Thursday, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger hosted an open, public telephone town hall focused on issues facing Virginia’s Veterans, military families, and caregivers. During the event, Spanberger was joined by representatives […]