Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is calling the bipartisan budget deal, which passed early Friday morning after a five-hour government shutdown, “good for the country and good for Virginia.”
The deal, which adds billions of dollars in federal spending for military, disaster relief, and domestic programs, comes weeks after a historic package of tax cuts championed by President Trump and the GOP was signed into law.
Kaine is touting several portions of the spending bill as Virginian victories, such as the $3 billion for 2018 and 2019, respectively, that the budget sets aside to tackle the national substance abuse epidemic. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been funded for an additional four years, which a press release from the Senator’s office states will benefit 66,000 Virginian children.
A two year funding extension of federally-qualified community healthy centers was included in the spending bill. The Senator’s press release states that “approximately 300,000 Virginians receive health care at more than 100 community health center locations in underserved communities” across the state.
“I am proud to have worked with a bipartisan group of my colleagues last month on negotiations to reopen the government that led us toward this deal, but our work isn’t done. We now must build on this bipartisan progress and immediately proceed to debate and pass legislation that permanently protects Dreamers,” stated a press release quoting Kaine.
The bill ends military sequestration, which Kaine says has been “painful” to Virginia’s military community. It also increases national security and military spending by $80 billion in 2018 and $85 billion in 2019. Domestic spending will be increased by $63 billion in 2018 and $68 billion in 2019, which will fund education, health, and non-defense national security programs.
Other Virginia “wins” cited by Kaine, via press release, include:
- Veterans – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 to reduce the VA health care maintenance backlog
- Child Care – $2.9 billion for FY 18 and $2.9 billion for FY 19 for child care, including for the Child Care Development Block Grant program;
- Higher Education – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 for programs that aid college completion and affordability, including those that help police officers, teachers, and firefighters;
Drug Addiction and Mental Health – $3 billion for FY18 and $3 billion for FY19 to combat the substance abuse epidemic;
- Infrastructure: Transportation, Clean Water and Broadband – $10 billion for FY 18 and $10 billion for FY 19 to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, roads, rail and bridges;
Photo via Sen. Tim Kaine’s office
Democratic County Board Field at Two — Military veteran Chanda Choun was the only candidate for County Board to announce his candidacy at the Arlington County Democratic Committee last night. Choun joins fellow Democrat Matt de Ferranti in the race to challenge incumbent John Vihstadt. A primary will be held June 12, ahead of the general election contest against Vihstadt in November. [InsideNova]
Affordable Housing Stats for FY 2017 — “Arlington County added or preserved 556 affordable housing units for low- and moderate-income households during its 2017 fiscal year, bringing the Countywide total to more than 7,700 units.” [Arlington County]
Government Shuts Down Briefly — The government was shut down overnight as Congress failed to pass a bipartisan budget bill until around 5:30 a.m. [Politico]
HERricane Applications Accepted — Applications are being accepted in February for Arlington County’s HERricane program, which helps girls ages 13-17 to pursue careers and leadership roles in emergency management through a week-long summer camp. [Arlington County]
Update at 9:30 p.m. — The shutdown is over after legislation passed Congress and was signed by President Trump.
Federal workers will receive back pay for any time lost during the shutdown.
More via a press release from Rep. Don Beyer’s office:
Legislative language mirroring a bill offered by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) to protect the pay of federal workers during the government shutdown was passed by Congress today as part of a larger temporary funding bill. The inclusion of text of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act will guarantee that the entire federal workforce receives back pay for the time during which appropriations lapsed.
“It is deeply disappointing that Congress was unable to prevent a government shutdown, but the passage of the our bill’s language should at least minimize the damage to rank-and-file civil servants,” said Rep. Beyer. “I thank my colleague Rep. Wittman for standing up for the federal workforce again, and hope that this will be the last time that this bill is necessary.”
Text of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act was included in HR 195, which passed both chambers of Congress today. The bill had nearly 100 bipartisan cosponsors.
Earlier: The federal government could re-open as early as tomorrow after the U.S. Senate voted to advance a short-term spending plan today (Monday).
Senators voted 81-18 to end debate — a procedural move — on a three-week bill that would fund the government through February 8. The bill would give Congress more time to negotiate a long-term spending package.
The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the plan today, if it passes the Senate.
The government partially shut down at midnight on Saturday (January 20).
But the impasse appears to have ended in the Senate after Republicans committed to holding a vote on the future of those who were brought to the country illegally as children and protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Donald Trump announced he would end the program in March.
In a joint statement, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (D-Va.) blamed Republicans for the shutdown and said they were “deeply disappointed” that it could not stay open. But they said they are “heartened” by discussions that could help resolve many long-standing issues.
“As a result of those discussions, we now have a path forward to resolve many of the challenges that Congress has punted on for months, including a long-term solution to sequestration and full-year funding for our government and the military,” they said. “Today we are reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that tens of thousands of Virginians rely on – after months of Republican obstruction – and giving service-members and federal employees peace of mind that their paychecks will arrive on time. We also have the opportunity to finally make investments here at home to fight the opioid crisis, provide relief for communities hit by natural disasters, allow those who rely on community health centers to get care, reform pensions, and much more.”
Warner and Kaine’s joint statement is after the jump.
Arlington County’s representatives in Congress are blaming Republicans for the looming government shutdown, set to take effect at midnight tonight.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term continuing resolution late last night (Thursday) to keep the federal government open for another month while negotiations continue on a long-term spending deal.
A major sticking-point for Democrats is the status of immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, who were brought to the United States illegally as minors and shielded from deportation.
President Donald Trump announced he would end the program as of March, and since then Democratic legislators have pushed for a permanent solution.
Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in Congress as well as Alexandria, Falls Church and a section of Fairfax County, slammed the continuing resolution as “appalling and absurd.” It is the fourth in as many months as wrangling over the federal budget continues.
Beyer’s full statement is below:
“House Republicans are now forcing us to take our fourth vote on a short-term funding resolution in as many months. This is appalling and absurd.
Like my fellow House Democrats, I spent months imploring my Republican colleagues to take action on key priorities for the American people, including passing long term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and protecting Dreamers. But they were too busy trying to use hundreds of thousands of young people’s lives as leverage and cutting taxes for the wealthy to solve these problems.
Donald Trump claims he wants to help Dreamers, yet he keeps taking to Twitter to derail bipartisan efforts to solve a problem he created. Republicans suddenly decided this week that they cared about CHIP, but they could have passed a clean reauthorization of CHIP any time in the past few months and refused to do so.
The President keeps talking about how ‘our military needs’ this, but has he listened to them when they have said that they need long term budget certainty? The same is true of our non-defense agencies, which are having to guess again and again about when and how they will be funded as the Republicans who have complete control of government repeatedly fail to do the basic job of governing.
The federal workforce deserves better than to experience the fifth Congressional budget fight in five months in February. I do not want the government to shut down, and today introduced bipartisan legislation with my friend Congressman Rob Wittman to protect federal workers’ pay if that happens. But Congress’ refusal to live up to its basic responsibilities to the American people must end.”
Were the government to shut down, for the first time since 2013, many federal workers would be furloughed — sent home without pay. It would also represent the first time that the federal government has shut down with one political party in control of all branches of government.
And Beyer has tried to mitigate the impact on federal workers — many of whom live in his district — by introducing the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act alongside fellow Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R).
The bill, which the pair introduced last April when another shutdown threat threatened, would guarantee back pay for federal workers who are furloughed.
“We are working hard to avoid a government shutdown, but if it comes our bill would protect federal workers from the worst of the consequences,” Beyer said in a statement. “This legislation is designed to shield civil servants, who need to support their families, from the disastrous effects of Congress’ failure to agree on a budget measure. We hope it will not be needed, but time is running out.”
In a joint statement Thursday, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (both D-Va.) criticized the House’s continuing resolution. The plan appears to have significant opposition from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate.
The pair said it creates “uncertainty” to not have a long-term budget deal and to instead rely on short-term resolutions, and ignores many important issues.
“The current CR ignores key priorities — community health centers, permanent protection for Dreamers, emergency relief for Florida, Texas, western states ravaged by wildfires, Puerto Rico, the USVI, opioid treatment, and pension reform,” they said. “These issues are not going away and need to be addressed immediately.”
Kaine and Warner’s full joint statement is after the jump.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) has offered a statement regarding Tuesday night’s bi-partisan budget compromise that averted another government shutdown.
Kaine largely praised the $85 billion agreement that funds government agencies through 2015. He did, however, express disappointment in certain cuts, such as cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees and for federal employee benefits.
Here is Kaine’s full statement:
“Ever since I took office last January, I made it a mission to do everything I could to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts that have so severely hurt Virginia and return to normal budgetary order. I even delivered my maiden floor speech last February on the urgent need to find compromise and avert sequestration. Tonight, I’m pleased that after passing a Senate budget for the first time in four years and going to conference with the House, a deal has been reached.
I’m disappointed that reductions in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retirees and cuts to federal employee benefits were included. But the deal goes a long way toward alleviating the most harmful effects of sequestration next year – cuts that have disproportionately impacted federal employees and the defense community – and restoring basic economic certainty to businesses and families across the Commonwealth. It also ensures we won’t suffer another damaging government shutdown next month that would have resulted in more negative consequences for federal employees.
The two-year, bipartisan agreement will relieve $63 billion of sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015. It will also avert additional defense cuts – including $20 billion in cuts that were set to take effect in January 2014 – and replace non-defense cuts over the next two years. We’ve also given appropriators the certainty they need to write full appropriations bills – a significant step toward ending the dangerous pattern of stopgap, governing-by-crisis measures that have plagued the budgeting process in recent years.
While I’m still examining the details of the deal, I am pleased a spirit of compromise and cooperation prevailed.”
Update at 5:10 p.m. — Rep. Jim Moran (D) has also issued a statement on the budget agreement, saying it’s flawed but he will ultimately support it. The full statement, after the jump.
Sunday’s Army Ten-Miler race won’t take place on an altered course after all, now that the federal government shutdown has ended.
Earlier this week, ARLnow.com reported that the government shutdown had forced a route change for the race, in order to avoid National Park Service territory affected by the shutdown. The altered course would have covered more land in Arlington.
Today the Army Ten-Miler’s Facebook page was updated to inform participants that they will be running the original race course because the federal government has re-opened.
The Marine Corps Marathon, scheduled for next Sunday (October 27), was also in jeopardy due to the shutdown. It could have been postponed or canceled because about 60 percent of that race is run on National Park Service property. Today, organizers confirmed the original plans have been restored, posting the following message on the marathon’s website:
“A special thank you to MCM and MCM10K participants for your patience during the recent period of uncertainty. It is with great pleasure that the MCM can officially announce we are on. We are SO on. See you at the start line!”
There will be a number of roads closed on Sunday for the Army Ten-Miler. The full list, after the jump.
Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
In a May column written immediately after Virginia Republicans nominated their extreme statewide ticket, I predicted that ticket would be a turnoff for many Arlington Republicans. Prior to the federal government shutdown, this GOP extreme team more than fulfilled my predictions.
The Arlington GOP was unable to recruit anyone to run alongside the extreme team for any other elected position on the Nov. 5 Arlington ballot: no state Delegate candidates, no County Board candidate, and no School Board candidate. All of that was before the national GOP engineered the government shutdown.
By overwhelming margins in two recent independent polls, the public has assigned primary blame for the shutdown to the national GOP — not to President Obama or national Democrats. This common-sense conclusion is very likely shared by even more lopsided margins in Arlington — and not just because Democrats in Arlington have won recent general elections with roughly two thirds of the vote.
Compared to those polled nationally about the shutdown, Arlington has a much higher number of voters in private sector jobs that depend—directly or indirectly—on the federal government. Many Republicans hold those Arlington private sector jobs. A lot of those Republicans have lost money or been furloughed because of the loss of federal contract revenue attributable to the shutdown.
If the Republican candidate for Virginia governor had been a moderate with a long record as a problem-solver and bi-partisan consensus-builder, he credibly could have distanced himself from the GOP-led shutdown disaster. He could have minimized the damage to his candidacy in our community. Alas for Arlington Republicans, that is not the case.
With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, Arlington Republicans instead find themselves saddled with Ken Cuccinelli at the top of their ticket. He is a candidate who has embraced for years the most extreme faction of the Republican Party that:
- engineered the federal government shutdown, and
- remains defiant and proud about that “accomplishment.”
On Election Day this year, the effects of the shutdown still will be quite fresh in the minds of Arlington voters. While Ken Cuccinelli has preached the gospel of job creation, he has practiced the politics of job destruction.
All three extreme GOP statewide candidates — Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain — will suffer at the polls because of the Cruzification strategy pursued by their national Republican leaders.
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Federal workers affected by the 16-day government shutdown began heading back to work today, thanks to an agreement Congress passed on Wednesday night. The agreement funds federal agencies through mid-January and raises the debt limit.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) blasted the shutdown, calling it “purposeless” in a statement released last night. Earlier this month, he introduced a bill — which the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed — to grant back pay to all 800,000 furloughed federal employees.
Moran’s full statement follows:
“This bill brings an end to one of the most embarrassing episodes in congressional history. House Republicans, spurred on by Tea Party-aligned members and outside groups who have exploited the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to subvert democracy, held the government hostage in an effort to destroy Obamacare. These Tea Party actions have caused a financially damaging, demoralizing government shutdown that shook consumer confidence, and resulted in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees and employment cutbacks at nearly 85 percent of all federal contracting companies.
“Three weeks later, $24 billion in lost economic growth and the anxiety of people wondering if and when they would receive a paycheck, we have a deal to reopen government, lift the debt ceiling…and Obamacare remains virtually untouched. Clearly, the new health law is going to need tweaking going forward. But efforts to destroy it, rather than improve it, led by charlatans like Senator Ted Cruz, willfully ignored the fact that 1) Congress signed it into law, 2) it was upheld by a conservative Supreme Court and, 3) it was a major issue in the most recent presidential election which resulted in a five million vote victory for President Obama.
“This two week period of panic and pain has been purposeless. We are back to square one having achieved nothing but to have exposed the radical destructiveness of the so called Ted Cruz Tea Party faction within the Republican Party.”
Hotel occupancy rates have dropped steeply because the shutdown has meant a trifecta of key travelers have cancelled trips, B.F. Saul President Mark Carrier said. B.F. Saul owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn in Crystal City and 13 other hotels in Northern Virginia.
Government workers and contractors that would have traveled here for business are canceling reservations, as are visitors with their families and large tour groups concerned they won’t be able to see key monuments and museums in D.C.
“The decline has been quite severe and very impactful,” Carrier told ARLnow.com. “The reality in the hotel business is when you lose business today, it’s gone. October is the strongest month in the second half of the calendar year, so to have this occur right in October is particularly harmful.”
Carrier said the typical occupancy rate in B.F. Saul hotels at this time of year is between 75-80 percent, and estimates that since the shutdown started, it has dropped to around 50 percent. As of Wednesday afternoon it appears Congress is close to a deal to end the shutdown, but Carrier said that doesn’t mean relief is necessarily on its way.
“I expect we’ll see significant effects from this,” he said. If contractors have lost revenue because of the shutdown, “one of the things they cut back on is travel. It seems to be an expense you can say ‘no’ to.”
Carrier said some hourly staff and supervisors have had their hours cut into to try to offset the hotel’s declined revenue, which he called “very painful” as a hotel operator. If the shutdown deal falls through and the Marine Corps Marathon is cancelled, the effects could be even worse. Carrier said his hotels, and many others in Arlington, are usually close to 100 percent occupancy rate during race weekend.
The steep drop in revenue could have impacts for Arlington County’s planned transportation projects as well. The Transient Occupancy Tax — commonly known as the hotel tax — helps pay for the funding in last year’s transportation package, and will take a hit from the drop in hotel visitors.
Update at 2:15 p.m. on October 17 — Because Congress came to an agreement last night that re-opened the government, both the Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon will proceed as originally planned.
The 10-Miler, which is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 20, starts and finishes near the Pentagon in Arlington. Originally slated to cross the Memorial Bridge into D.C., the course has been altered so that the race will cover more distance in Arlington, thus avoiding National Park Service territory impacted by the shutdown.
Runners will now double back on Route 110, heading southbound before crossing the 14th Street HOV bridge into D.C., according Lt. Dave Green, of the Arlington County Police Department Special Operations Section, which coordinates road closures for large events.
Shaunteh Kelly, media relations coordinator for the race, could not immediately confirm the route changes when reached by ARLnow.com.
The situation is more dire for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 27. The race may be postponed or canceled if Congress doesn’t act to reopen the government by the end of the week, we’re told exclusively.
“I don’t want to put people in panic mode, but if as of Friday evening the government is still closed, it’s probably not going to happen,” Lt. Green said of the race.
Green said police agencies are still “plowing ahead” on the assumption that the government shutdown will be lifted in time.
“As of right now all participating jurisdictions are moving forward as if it is going to take place,” he said.
Tami Faram, spokeswoman for the marathon, said that organizers were still planning for the race to go on. As reported by Runner’s World, Marine Corps Marathon staff is paid with non-appropriated funds, and thus not subject to furloughs.
“From our standpoint… we’re continuing to plan for Sunday, October 27,” said Faram.
“We’re waiting with everyone else,” she said of the shutdown. “We just don’t have a crystal ball.”
Faram would not confirm whether a cancellation or postponement is possible should the government remain shut down. She did note, however, that 60 percent of the race is run on National Park Service property.
According to Green, too much of the 26.2 mile race is on federal property to make changes in the route feasible. That includes the marathon’s iconic finish, at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn.
The marathon has never been canceled in its 37 year history. The race was run last year despite Hurricane Sandy barreling down on the East Coast. The storm hit Washington after the race finished.
Update at 8:55 p.m. — The Marine Corps Marathon released a statement tonight via Facebook.
Since the government shutdown occurred, the Marine Corps Marathon continues its coordination with hopes of a conclusion in time to host the event without impact. Without a resolution to the government shutdown this week, the MCM as planned is in jeopardy of being cancelled.
While still considering and exploring all possible options, the MCM has targeted this Saturday, October 19 as the date to officially notify runners of the status of the event. It is sincerely the hope of everyone associated with the organization of this event that MCM participants can run as planned.
Flickr photo (bottom) by Wolfkann
Arlington’s Feuding Bike Donation Charities — “Arlington, surprisingly, is home to not one but two nonprofits that donate bicycles to the underprivileged in Africa and elsewhere,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. “Our 26-square-mile county, however, may not be big enough for both – the two groups do not ride alongside each other smoothly.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Pike Apartment Ad from the ’60s — The Columbia Pike apartment complex now known as the Wellington is seen in a 1960s-era advertisement uncovered by Ghosts of DC. The then-new “Executive Apartments” were “designed to meet the requirements of successful executives who can command the finest in luxury air-conditioned apartment living,” the ad says. Rent for a one bedroom was $135 per month. [Ghosts of DC]
Library Reminds Feds to Return Books — Furloughed federal employees might not have access to their government email accounts, and thus might miss reminder emails from the library about overdue items. Arlington Public Library is reminding feds that they can keep track of their account through the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
New Nauck Civic Association Website — The Nauck Civic Association recently unveiled a new website, which includes a history of the neighborhood. Also known as Green Valley, the neighborhood was settled by a freed slave in 1844. [Nauck Civic Association]
Affordable Housing Crisis in Arlington? — “Arlington County is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis,” writes reporter Michael Lee Pope. The county has lost more than half of its affordable housing units in the last decade, a time when the average rent increased by 47 percent while the average salary increased only 37 percent. The “crisis” has led the Arlington Green Party to propose a referendum on the creation of a new housing authority, a move that many existing affordable housing organizations in Arlington oppose. [Arlington Connection]
Gravelly Point Still Busy Despite Shutdown — Gravelly Point has remained a popular destination for picnickers, fisherman and airplane watchers, despite the fact that it’s officially closed and its parking lot barricaded. Despite being a potential safety hazard, a number of park-goers have been parking on the grass adjacent to the GW Parkway. [WJLA]
Columbia Forest Tops for Female Divorcees — Arlington’s Columbia Forest neighborhood has the highest concentration of female divorcees among census tracts in the county, with 355. According to census data, Shirlington and Pentagon City are No. 2 and 3, with 339 and 298 respectively. As previously reported, Crystal City has the highest concentration of divorced men, 297. [Patch]
Stink Bug Season in Washington — It’s stink bug season once again. While a few of the insects have been reported around Arlington, the stink bug population seems to increase as you go west, beyond the Beltway. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Runneralan2004.
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would ensure that approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers receive pay for the duration of the government shutdown, regardless of furlough status.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the legislation to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill, Moran said last week.
“[Saturday’s] legislation guarantees that retroactive pay for our Federal employees will not become a political bargaining chip,” Moran said in a statement. “This is an issue of fairness. 800,000 federal employees are already weathering the effects of pay freezes, benefit cuts, and furloughs; and now, because of a dysfunctional Congress, they’ve had to worry about even receiving a paycheck.”
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the bill passed 407-0. Moran, however, used the occasion for another jab at congressional Republicans.
“I’m glad my friends across the aisle were able to put aside their ideological crusade to dismantle Obamacare and get behind this legislation,” he said, via press release. “Their approach has already wrought too much hardship and today’s vote ensures it won’t hit the family budgets of our civil servants.”
Also on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 300,000 Pentagon civilian employees who had been furloughed would return to work.