December 6, 2023

As arguably the state hardest-hit by federal authorities shutdowns, Virginia is not any stranger to fallout of fiscal dysfunction in Congress. However a few of Virginia’s representatives in Washington are working to guard hardworking Virginians from the specter of congressional price range impasses.

Virginia is second solely to California when it comes to residents holding federal jobs; particularly, 144,000 residents of the commonwealth obtain their paychecks from the U.S. authorities, in keeping with the U.S. Workplace of Personnel Administration (though a current congressional report places that quantity at 170,000). Virginia can be first amongst all 50 states in navy spending, with a lot of that funding divided between the Pentagon in Northern Virginia and Naval Station Norfolk in Hampton Roads.

All this provides as much as a disproportionate quantity of ache felt by Virginians each time Congress’s failures lead to a authorities shutdown; federal staff and active-duty navy don’t receives a commission if the federal government isn’t open. However some Virginia Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to guard their constituents from these hardships.

In September, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) launched the Finish Shutdowns Act, which is designed to stop future shutdowns and the “mindless ache” they carry to not solely these employed by the federal authorities, but in addition those that depend on authorities companies.

The measure goals to finish using authorities shutdowns as a negotiating tactic by initiating an automated persevering with decision initially of the federal fiscal 12 months — Oct. 1 – to maintain the federal government funded if no appropriations invoice has handed by then. The invoice additionally prevents the U.S. Senate from transferring ahead with another laws till Congress reaches a long-term spending settlement. 

“Authorities shutdowns have disastrous penalties for federal staff and authorities contractors and decelerate essential authorities companies that thousands and thousands of People depend on like getting alternative Social Safety playing cards and meals inspections,” mentioned Kaine in an announcement. “However politicians proceed to make use of or threaten to make use of authorities shutdowns as a negotiating tactic.”

Extra just lately, Kaine additionally launched the Modernizing the Federal Calendar Act, which shifts the federal fiscal 12 months to the calendar 12 months, having it finish on Dec. 31 as a substitute of Sept. 30.

In keeping with Kaine, this shift would “scale back the prevalence of stopgap funding and eradicate the October shutdown menace by making the tip of the fiscal 12 months align with the tip of the calendar 12 months, when Congress has traditionally handed a full-year authorities funding invoice.”

The final time Congress adopted a federal price range by the Oct. first starting of the fiscal 12 months was in 1997.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood’s chief political correspondent. She can be the nation’s foremost professional in state politics with nearly twenty years of expertise in statehouse machinations, and her comedian e-book assortment might be greater than yours.