Spanberger Introduces Legislation to Prevent Future Government Shutdowns, Protect Federal Employees & their Families

Legislation Would Automatically Renew Government Funding Levels for Most Federal Departments, Force Congress & the President to Negotiate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today led and introduced legislation that would help prevent future government shutdowns and protect federal workers from being used as negotiating tools in funding talks.

During lapses in government funding, Spanberger’s Stop STUPIDITY (Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years) Act would automatically renew funding at the same levels as the previous year—except for the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President. This exclusion would help incentivize Congress and the President to work together to fix policy disagreements, without harming the federal workforce, U.S. national security, or the strength of the economy.  

“As we saw last month, no one benefits from a government shutdown. For 35 days, our economy and national security were put at risk, and federal workers suffered greatly due to the inability of their elected officials to do their jobs,” said Spanberger. “Today, I introduced legislation that would help prevent future shutdowns by placing the burden on Members of Congress and the White House, rather than on hardworking federal employees. The bottom line is that shutting down or threatening to shut down our government as a negotiating tool is never acceptable, and passing this bill would make clear that Members of Congress agree.”

Spanberger introduced the Stop STUPIDITY Act alongside U.S. Representatives Donna Shalala (D-FL-27) and Anthony Brown (D-MD-04). Last month, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced companion legislation in the U.S Senate.

The record-long government shutdown caused serious financial harm to hundreds of thousands of federal employees in Central Virginia and across the country. From December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019, more than 420,000 federal employees were forced to work without pay, including more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers and up to 88 percent of all U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees. Additionally, more than 380,000 federal employees were furloughed during the shutdown.

Spanberger’s Stop STUPIDITY Act would make sure all federal workers get paid during a shutdown, except for Members of Congress, congressional staff, and White House officials.

Click here to view the full bill text.

Last month, Spanberger met with Central Virginia federal employees who were negatively impacted by the government shutdown. During the roundtable discussion in Henrico, Spanberger heard personal stories about how the record-long shutdown affected those they serve, while creating great uncertainty for their families.

During the partial government shutdown, Spanberger joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues at the White House to discuss the effects of the shutdown and to underscore its negative impacts on federal workers in Central Virginia and across the country.

Background

Following her swearing-in, Spanberger fought to provide peace of mind to federal workers and to fully reopen the government. 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 partial government shutdown. And on her first day in office, Spanberger helped introduce two bills that would make sure federal workers receive backpay and that Members of Congress do not receive their full salaries during a shutdown.

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

And Spanberger spoke three times on the floor of the U.S. House during the government shutdown to urge lawmakers to work together in a bipartisan way to end the shutdown. In her first speech on the floor of the U.S. House, Spanberger shared the story of a constituent facing financial hardship and growing uncertainty due to the government shutdown. Spanberger also shared the story of a furloughed Central Virginia worker negatively impacted by the shutdown, and she delivered a speech highlighting how the shutdown jeopardized several aspects of U.S. national security.   

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