Amid fears of a government shutdown, Rep. Don Beyer (D) is urging colleagues to remember the federal workers who would lose their paychecks if no spending plan is passed.
Yesterday, House Republicans recessed for a week after failing to pass a bill to stave off a shutdown. That could happen if lawmakers on Capitol Hill do not reach a deal before the federal government runs out of money next Saturday, Sept. 30 at midnight.
If that happens, essential workers — including military personnel, federal law enforcement and air traffic controllers — would continue working, possibly without pay.
Some 2.2 million permanent, civilian, non-postal employees could also miss their paychecks, Beyer said in a statement Wednesday. This includes more than 140,000 in Virginia, according to federal workforce data.
The last time this happened, in 2018, Beyer received letters from Virginia federal workers describing how they and their families were hurt by lost wages and benefits. He shared snippets of these letters this week.
“I am a single mother to three small children. My ability to provide for my children stops the moment the government goes into shutdown,” wrote one constituent in a 2018.
Another federal worker underscored the uncertainty a shutdown causes.
“It is the undefined length of this shutdown, the not knowing, that is the worst part,” the letter said. “Nevertheless, we continue to go to work each day without pay and without knowing what the future holds.”
Millions of government contractors also stand to lose their pay and benefits. Beyer shared a 2019 letter describing the lengths to which one owner of a small federal contracting business went to keep paying staff.
“I have expended out available cash and have taken loans against my home to keep paying our employees,” wrote the business owner and disabled veteran. “I am now at a decision point. Do I borrow more money, or do I lay off my hardworking employees?”
Unlike federal employees, contractors are not guaranteed back pay from missed wages. Around 10,000 companies with government contracts were affected by the 2018-19 shutdown, the Washington Post reported.
With the funding deadline looming, Beyer says his colleagues should remember these 2018 shutdown testimonies and consider most Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
“Many are caught up in palace intrigue and legislative drama right now, but I urge my colleagues to remember that there are a lot of real people out there who will be hurt if there is a government shutdown,” he said. “These letters and emails show how shutdowns are a disaster for my constituents, our region, and millions of Americans across the country.”
The shutdown may also affect everyday Americans who do not rely on a paycheck from the federal government, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) says.
Kaine emphasized in a press release that the 2018 shutdown led to delays in everything from flights to tax refunds and mortgage approvals due to the absence of thousands of furloughed employees, including air traffic controllers and IRS agents.
“While I will continue working with my colleagues to prevent a shutdown, we should never be in this position to begin with,” Kaine said.
Earlier this month Kaine and Beyer introduced the End Shutdowns Act, which would have initiated an automatic continuing resolution on Oct. 1 if no appropriations bill was passed by that time. Additionally, the will would have”stop[ped] the Senate from moving forward with any other legislation, outside of an emergency scenario, until Congress reached an agreement on a long-term spending deal.”
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The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.