On Floor of the U.S. House, Spanberger Outlines National Security Implications of the Government Shutdown

Yesterday, Spanberger Shared Story of Furloughed Central Virginian on the U.S. House Floor after Voting to Reopen the Federal Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today delivered a speech on the U.S. House floor to call for an end to the ongoing government shutdown and to highlight how the shutdown is jeopardizing several aspects of U.S. national security.

During her remarks, Spanberger highlighted the negative effects the partial government shutdown has had on critical federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Coast Guard. As of today, the partial government shutdown is now more than 34 days-long.

Click here to watch a full video of Spanberger’s speech. A full transcript of her remarks is provided below:

“Over the past 34 days, we have heard that this shutdown is about security. Well, I’m a former undercover CIA officer, so let’s talk about security.

“There is nothing secure about FBI agents working without pay. There is nothing secure about them closing down investigations and losing their informants—their counterterrorism informants.

“There is nothing secure about TSA employees, who keep us safe in the airspace, working without pay.

“There is nothing secure about our Customs and Border [Protection] agents—working along the very border we are discussing—working without pay.

“There is nothing secure about our air traffic controllers working ten hours a day to keep our airplanes safe in the air.

“And there is nothing secure about our diplomats—working in warzones around the world to keep this country safe—working without pay.

“There is nothing secure about the 42,000 dedicated members of the U.S. Coast Guard working without pay as they defend our shores.

“The public servants who work every single day to protect the lives of their fellow American citizens deserve better. And I know this, because I used to be one of them.

“This shutdown is a disgrace. It is hurting our national security. We must end it now, so that Americans can sleep safely at night, federal workers can receive the paychecks they’ve earned, and our country’s military, economic, and diplomatic strength can be preserved before it’s too late.”

Since December 22, 2018, more than 420,000 federal employees have worked without pay, including more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers and up to 88 percent of all Department of Homeland Security employees. Additionally, more than 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed during the government shutdown. Nearly 42,000 men and women actively serving in the Coast Guard are currently working without pay, and the TSA’s 47,000 Transportation Security Officers are all currently performing their critical national security duties without pay.

The shutdown is also damaging the ability of CBP staff to effectively perform their jobs. During the shutdown, over 91 percent of CBP personnel, including approximately 40,000 Border Patrol agents, CBP officers, and Agriculture Specialists, are being forced to work without pay. Many are required to work overtime due to staffing shortages at ports of entry. Additionally, hiring has been delayed, and newly hired agents and officers cannot start training until training centers are reopened, meaning thousands of vacancies at CBP will go unfilled and its staffing shortages will only be exacerbated if agents and officers seek other employment.

Earlier this month, Spanberger met with Central Virginia federal employees impacted by the government shutdown. During the roundtable discussion in Henrico, Spanberger heard personal stories about how the record shutdown is impacting their lives and those they serve, while creating great uncertainty for their families

Yesterday, Spanberger also gave a speech on the U.S. House floor calling for an end to the record-long government shutdown. During her remarks, she shared the story of a Central Virginian facing financial hardship due to the ongoing shutdown. Click here to watch her speech.

Background

Since her swearing-in, Spanberger has fought to provide peace of mind to federal workers and to fully reopen the government. Earlier this month, 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.

And during her first days in office, Spanberger joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass bipartisan legislation that would end the ongoing government shutdown. The legislation also included a provision Spanberger helped introduce to retroactively restore pay that federal employees have been denied during the partial shutdown.

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