September 23, 2023

With some conservative lawmakers calling a federal authorities shutdown on the finish of September “inevitable,” Republican Common Meeting candidates in Virginia might find yourself coping with the fallout.

This fall’s races for all 140 seats within the state Home and Senate are the political focus in Virginia for the time being, however a looming federal authorities catastrophe might shift the panorama dramatically all the way in which down the poll.

Except Congressional Republicans and Pres. Joe Biden agree on a spending plan earlier than Sept. 30, the federal authorities will shut down attributable to lack of funding.

Whereas the blame for such a implausible failure will seemingly fall on the Republicans who management the U.S. Home, federal officeholders have a complete 12 months to hope that constituencies harmed by the shutdown will overlook the entire fiasco, since none shall be up for reelection earlier than November 2024.

Republicans on the poll this fall in Virginia, however, face a considerably completely different calculus.

Not solely are Virginia’s elections lower than two months away, but additionally early voting begins on Sept. 22 – simply eight days earlier than the federal authorities might shut down.

Moreover, Virginia would undergo an outsized influence from such a shutdown.

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 latest congressional report places that quantity at 170,000). Virginia can also be first amongst all 50 states in army spending, with a lot of that funding divided between the Pentagon in Northern Virginia and Naval Station Norfolk in Hampton Roads. Each areas are residence to key swing seats in November’s legislative elections.

Previous authorities shutdowns have had obvious affect on Virginia’s odd-year elections. In October 2013, the federal authorities shut down for 16 days in October; three weeks later, not solely did Terry McAuliffe win the governor’s race, however he additionally led the primary Democratic sweep for the commonwealth’s high three workplaces since 1989. A 35-day shutdown – the longest ever – that bled into January 2019 could have tarnished the GOP’s picture sufficient that 12 months to assist propel Democrats to majority management of the state Home and Senate for the primary time in over 20 years.

“If you happen to’re a Republican, the very last thing you need to see is a federal authorities shutdown within the midst of a legislative marketing campaign or a congressional marketing campaign,” former GOP Lt. Gov. Invoice Bolling instructed the Richmond Instances-Dispatch. “This stuff usually play out to the detriment of Republicans, who’re seen because the occasion of shutdowns.”

Some Democrats who aren’t on the poll this 12 months (however shall be in 2024) are trying to finish authorities shutdowns as soon as and for all.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) are responding to the looming risk to their constituents’ livelihoods by reintroducing the “Finish Shutdowns Act,” a invoice that might forestall future shutdowns by mechanically persevering with federal authorities funding on Oct. 1 of a given 12 months if no appropriations invoice has handed by that date. It could additionally forestall the U.S. Senate from transferring ahead with any non-emergency laws till Congress reaches a long-term spending settlement.

“Authorities shutdowns have disastrous penalties for federal staff and authorities contractors and decelerate important authorities providers that hundreds of thousands of People depend on like getting substitute Social Safety playing cards and meals inspections. However politicians proceed to make use of or threaten to make use of authorities shutdowns as a negotiating tactic,” stated Kaine. “That is unacceptable.”

Whereas the results of the federal government shutdown shall be felt extra acutely within the federal job-rich areas of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, Virginians all throughout the state will really feel a number of the sting. 

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), whose Northern Virginia district contains the properties and workplaces of 1000’s of federal staff, laid out a number of the impacts on Virginia past furloughing federal employees, which embrace:

  • Disruptions to personal sector enterprise operations – Companies might see loans, mortgage functions, export licenses, federal contracts, and entry to important enterprise knowledge considerably delayed or decreased.
  • Jeopardizing essential federal advantages – Authorities help packages could possibly be disrupted, growing hardship for 850,000 Virginians who depend on Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP), over 120,000 Virginians who obtain month-to-month Particular Supplemental Diet Program for Ladies, Infants, and Youngsters (WIC) advantages, in addition to different Virginians who obtain advantages from federal packages.
  • Impacts on journey and tourism – Furloughs and pay freezes for TSA and air visitors controllers (who’re federal staff) might imply longer traces at safety checkpoints at Virginia airports, flight delays, delayed passport processing, in addition to restricted entry to any of Virginia’s 22 nationwide parks.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood’s chief political correspondent. She can also be the nation’s foremost skilled in state politics with virtually 20 years of expertise in statehouse machinations, and her comedian guide assortment might be greater than yours.