VA Demo Memo: The longest government shutdown in US history

ICYMI: Governor Ralph Northam last week delivered the State of the Commonwealth address.

WATCH: The State of the Commonwealth Address (Below)

Va. Gov. Northam urges Republicans to embrace ambitious budget in annualaddress (Washington Post)

Invoking the “Virginia Way” of political compromise, Northam catalogued the accomplishments of his first year in office — including expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians, raising the larceny threshold and securing funding for Metro — and he urged both parties to cooperate.

“The successes in this past year have come about not because I, or you legislators, did something individually — but because we worked together,” he said. “When we work together and help provide a strong foundation for Virginians, our families and businesses thrive.”

In era of national gridlock and division, Northam urges Virginia lawmakers to find ‘a different path forward’ (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

In his first official State of the Commonwealth address, Northam urged the legislature to “offer a different path forward” in a national political climate dominated by partisan fights and gridlock.

Pointing to the partial federal government shutdown that has affected thousands of Virginia workers, Northam said that in Washington “some politicians have a way of making even the simplest things look difficult.”

“I believe that most of the time, people find what they’re looking for. If they’re looking for division, they’ll find it,” Northam said. “But if they — if we — look for areas where we can agree, we’ll find them.”

Northam pitches policy plan, urges cooperation (Associated Press)

Still, Northam repeatedly called on lawmakers of both parties to work together, a word he repeated throughout his speech.

“It can be tempting to retreat to our corners and shout at each other. But I believe we all have that internal moral compass, the one that guides us toward the right thing to do. I hope we all follow it this session,” Northam said.

“In Virginia, we can work together to restore balance and fairness on the state level,” Northam said.

Northam also used his speech to take a victory lap as he completes his first year in office. The governor has scored two legacy-making wins in his first year: expanding Medicaid and landing a new Amazon headquarters with 25,000 new jobs.

Governor Northam urges bipartisanship in State Of Commonwealth Address (CBS 6 NEWS)

“Putting politics aside for the good of the people shouldn’t be hard, but as we are seeing up the road in Washington, some politicians have a way of making even the simplest things look difficult,” Northam said. “Virginia can offer a different path forward.”

Northam celebrated several achievements by his administration and state lawmakers over the course of his first year in office, touting legislative compromises in 2018 that expanded Medicaid in Virginia and decreased the grand larceny threshold.

The Governor also took aim at several pieces of legislation he plans to back in 2019. They include decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, an “extreme risk law” to allow police and courts to take a person’s firearm if they pose a danger to themselves or others, and codifying a woman’s “fundamental right to make her own health care decisions.”

Governor Ralph Northam gives State of the Commonwealth Address (CBS 19 NEWS)

Northam reassured Virginia that things are looking up: Virginia’s economy is growing with the lowest unemployment rate in seventeen years and more jobs are coming with Amazon coming to Northern Virginia and Microsoft expanding in Mecklenburg County.

“We can say with certainty, that the state of our beloved commonwealth is as strong as ever,” said Northam.

One of Northam’s biggest successes in 2018 was expanding Medicaid.

“No longer will these Virginians have to worry about whether they can afford to see a doctor,” said Northam, referring to the over 200,000 adults now enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program.

RICHMOND, VA — Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker issued the following statement praising Governor Ralph Northam’s State of the Commonwealth Address:
“Tonight, Governor Northam presented a bold ‘way ahead’ for the Commonwealth that builds upon his historic first year as Governor and makes crucial investments in Virginia’s future.
From providing sorely needed pay raises for our public-school teachers to increasing funding for rural broadband to improving our roads to reforming our gun laws to make Virginians safer, Governor Northam outlined an optimistic, forward-looking plan to the General Assembly this evening that will make our Commonwealth stronger for generations to come.
If last year and the passage of Medicaid Expansion is any indicator, Virginia Democrats can be sure that Governor Northam will work tirelessly to deliver on the important initiatives he presented tonight as he continues to lift up and empower Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Virginia Democrats are speaking out against the longest government shutdown in US history

Senator Mark Warner: “The disregard [Trump] has paid to our federal workers, where he has been so cavalier, has never sat down, has never listened to them…it’s been just awful.”

WATCH: Sen. Warner on CNN State of the Union

BELOW: Sen. Warner on the Senate floor sharing stories of Virginians hurt by the shutdown

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Senator Tim Kaine: “We’ve got 13,000 FBI agents, more than 10,000 Bureau of Prisons prison guards, air traffic controllers, Coast Guard folks who intersect drugs — all of them working without pay because of this President’s shutdown…and he says he cares about national security?”

WATCH: Sen. Kaine on NBC Meet The Press

BELOW: Sen. Kaine on the Senate floor sharing stories of Virginians hurt by the shutdown

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Congressman Bobby Scott: “This Republican dysfunction will force government employees to pay the price. 800,000 of them will be forced to go without pay during the holidays — including 420,000 federal employees who will have to work without pay.”

WATCH: Rep. Scott on Trump shutdown

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Congressman Gerry Connolly: “Let’s be honest, this President has a habit of pathological dissembling, and that’s being polite.”

LISTEN: Rep. Connolly on CNN Outfront

BELOW: Rep. Connolly in front of the National Capital demanding Trump reopen the government

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Congressman Don Beyer: “There is a crisis but it’s not the lack of a wall… (trading federal employees] service for a fifth century wall that can be overcome with a ladder” makes no sense.

READ: Rep. Beyer on Trump shutdown in The Washington Post

BELOW: Rep. Beyer’s bill to give federal employees back pay passed the House

“Federal workers are used to being treated horrendously by this President and GOP leaders in Congress, but House Democrats have now demonstrated in our first days on the job that we are prepared to use our majority to shield them from his worst designs.
“Yesterday I joined my colleagues in passing legislation on a bipartisan basis to reopen the government and end the Trump shutdown. The spending package which we passed included the legislative text of my bill to give back pay to federal employees affected by the shutdown. I thank my colleagues for supporting this bill, and House Democratic leaders for including it in the appropriations legislation.
“Democrats from the National Capital Region also succeeded in ending the Holman Rule, which House Republicans had used to try to punish civil servants over political disputes, and joined our colleagues in passing a bipartisan provision to undo the Trump pay freeze for federal workers in 2019. We are delivering positive results for our constituents and the millions of civilian federal workers who run the government.
“Meanwhile Donald Trump refuses to budge on his demands that taxpayers waste billions on a wall that he repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for. He is keeping the government closed and forcing hundreds of thousands of federal workers to work without pay or remain furloughed. This afternoon, he threatened to extend his shutdown for ‘months or even years.’ Any such closure would do incalculable and lasting damage to the federal workforce, the services they provide to Americans, and the U.S. economy.
“Further, even as rank-and-file federal employees face extreme hardship and uncertainty which he has inflicted on them with shutdowns and pay freezes, Trump’s senior political appointees and Vice President Pence are reportedly in line to receive thousands of dollars in raises. This unfair treatment is disgusting and unacceptable.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows that the government shutdown cannot be allowed to drag on for ‘months or even years’ without bringing on a profound crisis for our country. He can end this shutdown by working with House Democrats to pass the same legislation his own members backed unanimously last month, and he should do so immediately.”
Congressman Beyer represents the largest number of federal employees of any Member of the House of Representatives. — Rep. Beyer

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Congressman Donald McEachin: Federal workers “don’t have a mother or father they can ask for money…The President started it. The President has to come forward with a proposal to end it.”

WATCH: Rep. McEachin on MSNBC with Alex Witt

BELOW: Rep. McEachin serving as the Speaker Pro Tempore for voting on reopening departments and committing to ending the shutdown

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Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton: “I have [federal employee] constituents who don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgage or pay for child care…my constituents are tired of being used as pawns in a political battle that has nothing to do with their day-to-day lives or their jobs.”

WATCH: Rep. Wexton on MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show

BELOW: Rep. Wexton on MSNBC telling stories of Virginians who have been hurt by the shutdown

BELOW: Rep. Beyer and Rep. Wexton join the signing of the bill to guarantee back pay for federal workers during the shutdown

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Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger: “The idea that we would keep federal workers from getting their paycheck under the guise of trying to improve our security, it’s just — it’s contradictory.”

WATCH: Rep. Spanberger on MSNBC News with Craig Melvin

BELOW: Rep. Spanberger delivers her first speak on the floor of the House to share stories about Virginians hurt by the shutdown

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Congresswoman Elaine Luria: “These are people’s lives and livelihood, and we need to pay them for the work that they’re doing.”

READ: Rep. Luria on Trump shutdown in The Washington Post

BELOW: Rep. Luria meeting with constituents affected by the shutdown and tlaking to them about her support for a bipartisan bill to reinstate their salaries

Virginia Democratic lawmakers decry ‘president’s political game,’ say federal workers getting ‘crushed’ by shutdown (Virginia Mercury)

Beyer and other Virginia lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would give back pay to impacted employees. Virginia U.S. Rep. Robert Wittman, R-1st, is a co-sponsor, in addition to Democratic Reps. Jennifer Wexton, Gerald Connolly, Donald McEachin, Abigail Spanberger and Bobby Scott.
Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are co-sponsoring similar bipartisan legislation in the Senate.
Wexton, a freshman Democrat whose Northern Virginia district is also home to a sizeable chunk of the federal workforce, said she’s heard from “hundreds of constituents who are facing financial trouble, who had to return Christmas presents, who are picking up second jobs, who feel like their government and the nation they pledged their careers to serve has betrayed them.”
She pointed to a married couple where both people had been furloughed from the Department of Homeland Security.
“They don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgage next month, or even afford their son’s preschool,” Wexton said. “But beyond the financial hardships that the family is facing, beyond the added stress and uncertainty, the thing that they took most to heart through this whole process was the feeling that their work didn’t matter.”
Wexton added: “Our federal workers and contractors deserve better than to be used as pawns in the president’s political game. I call on the president to end this shutdown immediately.”

Trump’s economic advisor compares shutdown to vacation (CNN)

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said furloughed federal workers who are not getting paid during the partial government shutdown are “better off” because they didn’t have to use vacation days.
“Huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year’s. And then we have a shutdown and so they can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation but they don’t have to use their vacation days,” Hassett told PBS during an appearance on “NewsHour.”
On Saturday, the ongoing partial government shutdown broke the record to become the longest government shutdown in US history — with no end in sight. The shutdown has impacted roughly a quarter of the federal government and hundreds of thousands of federal workers. An estimated 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the lapse in funding — either by having to work without pay while it lasts or by being furloughed.
“And then they come back and then they get their back pay, then they’re, in some sense they’re better off,” Hassett said.
Last week, Congress passed legislation sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland to guarantee back pay for federal workers who have been furloughed during the government shutdown. But federal employees — those on furlough and those who have remained on the job — still won’t be paid until the shutdown ends.
President Donald Trump and lawmakers are still locked in a standoff over the President’s demand that Congress allocate $5.7 billion to build a wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump has said he is considering declaring a national emergency to get the money but would prefer to strike a deal with Congress.

The shutdown is causing real suffering — and not just to federal workers (Washington Post)

“I’M SURE that people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do.” That was the let-them-eat-cake response from President Trump about the plight of the 800,000 federal workers impacted by his shutdown of the government. Here is what that means:
For Daniel Lickey, a 32-year-old Internal Revenue Service worker in Utah, it’s not being able to send money to his parents, who are raising his special-needs niece and nephew. For Joseph Simeone, a 53-year-old safety inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration in Virginia, it means applying for unemployment and selling some of his belongings on Craigslist. For Theodore Atkinson, a trial lawyer for the Justice Department’s civil division, it means taking out personal loans to cover the mortgage on his Baltimore home and to meet his child support and alimony payments. And for 19-year-old IRS worker Tailor Gutierrez, it means eating ramen or white rice instead of meat.
The partial government shutdown, which affects about one-third of the federal workforce, is now the longest in history, having passed the previous record at midnight on Friday. Sunday will be its 23rd day, and there is no end in sight. Roughly 420,000 employees have been deemed essential and have been working unpaid since Dec. 22 (as was insultingly illustrated by Friday’s issuance of $0.00 paystubs); an additional 380,000 federal workers have been furloughed without pay.
But the pain of the shutdown extends beyond federal workers. There are the tens of thousands of contractors who rely on the federal government but are not full-time employees and are not likely to receive back pay. There are the stores, restaurants and other businesses that are hurting in cities and towns across the country, with workforces dependent on patronage by the government and its employees. The national economy is taking a hit, too, with estimates putting losses so far at $3.6 billion. And U.S. taxpayers are not receiving the government services they pay for, such as food inspections or museum exhibits or care for precious national parklands.
The longer the shutdown persists — and Mr. Trump has blithely talked about months or even years — the more the damage will compound. It shouldn’t come to that. Republicans in Congress who see the harm that is being done to their constituents need to work with Democrats to end this intolerable situation by reopening the government.

Delegate Hala Ayala “My constituent, Cher Muzyk who has been impacted by the government shutdown. This shutdown impacts families across the commonwealth. Please watch her powerful interview (below).”

Congratulations Dr. Samirah on winning the Democratic nomination for the 86th House District. The special election will be held on February 19.

I’m deeply humbled to announce that tonight I was elected to be the Democratic nominee to run to fill Delegate Jennifer B. Boysko’s seat. A huge thank you to the Virginia Democratic Party for running this special election and congratulations to my fellow candidates for stepping up and throwing their hats into the ring. On to the general election next month! — Dr. Ibraheem Samirah

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