The recent government shutdown was deeply concerning to many of us in Northern Virginia. Tens of thousands of in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District work directly for the federal government, additional thousands work as government contractors, and all of us live in communities which feel the economic effects from furloughs and federal work stoppages.
I did not want the government to shut down. I tried to help alleviate the effects of the shutdown on rank-and-file federal workers and the local economy by introducing bipartisan legislation with Congressman Rob Wittman to guarantee back pay for the entire federal workforce. I am happy to say that text mirroring this legislation, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, passed into law.
Congress’ refusal to live up to its basic responsibilities to the American people must end. Passing a budget which only funds the government a few weeks at a time inflicts uncertainty and fear on the federal workforce and harms the ability of both defense and civilian agencies to plan for the future.
I have voted against short term continuing resolutions — stopgap funding measures – for this reason. I will continue to advocate for passage of a bipartisan spending bill that funds the military, as well as domestic priorities such as infrastructure, community health centers, veterans’ services, and fighting the opioid epidemic. I also feel strongly that Congress must provide relief for communities hard-hit by major natural disasters.
I am particularly concerned that Congress has failed thus far in its responsibility to protect Dreamers. Leaders in Congress and the White House must make it an urgent priority to work together to forge bipartisan consensus on legislation that would protect these hundreds of thousands of young Americans who were brought to the United States as children, and are essential contributors of our community. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 73 percent of Americans support such efforts. I will be working with my colleagues in both parties to advance bipartisan solutions that treat immigrants and refugees with dignity and compassion.
It is my sincere hope that these priorities can be addressed in the next month without any further government shutdowns.
Rep. Donald Beyer can be reached through his website at www.beyer.house.gov, on Twitter @RepDonBeyer or his office at (202) 225-4376.