End the Shutdown and Help Federal Workers

The Trump Shutdown hits us hard here in Northern Virginia, where so many federal workers live.  As of Friday, January 11th, thousands of workers started not receiving their paychecks. Many federal contractors are out of work too.

It’s not just federal workers, but all of us who are feeling the effects of the shutdown — especially the most vulnerable.

Shutdown Facts

Here is a partial list of the effects of the shutdown.

Federal Workers and Contractors not being paid:

  • 450,000 federal employees are working without pay.  Among them are TSA agents, Air Traffic Controllers, Coast Guard members and Secret Service employees.  There is no guarantee that they will receive back pay unless Congress takes action and the President signs a bill.
  • 380,000 federal employees furloughed – they want to get back to work.
  • Roughly 800,000 federal employees in all are not being paid — causing unnecessary hardship and uncertainty. Employees are having trouble finding work because employers are less willing to hire someone on an indeterminate temporary basis.
  • The number of federal contractors affected is unknown but it could exceed the number of federal employees. There are nearly 10,000 contracting companies, many of them small businesses. Nationwide contracts amount to roughly $200 million each week.

Other Impacts of the Shutdown:

  • Possible delays during the upcoming tax season, and taxpayers seeking answers from the IRS will not receive support
  • Imminent evictions in at least 1,150 HUD-assisted apartment buildings, and no support for those facing housing discrimination
  • Delays to federal mortgage loans
  • Food stamps for March could be cut off if the shutdown extends through February
  • National parks and monuments filled with trash, and land being abused without any enforcement
  • E-Verify, the program used to ensure that workers are legally eligible for hire, is down
  • FDA food safety inspections have been sharply reduced, increasing the chance of food-borne illnesses or contamination nationwide
  • Forest Dept. programs to prevent wildfires are on hold, which could lead to a more devastating fire season
  • US Census Bureau is about to close, which could delay the count — which would also delay the ability for states to redraw Congressional districts

Read the Washington Post’s ongoing list here.

Read and share accounts from people all across the country at #ShutdownStories.

Take Action

The Indivisible organization has resources on contacting Congress to urge them to reopen the government, including talking points and more.  Click here to read.

Our local Virginia Congresspeople are with us – thank you Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Representatives Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton! However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the biggest problem in Congress because he refuses to allow a vote on a government funding bill without money for Trump’s border wall.  You can call McConnell’s office to let them know how the shutdown is affecting you, and to urge him to pass a clean bill to reopen the government:Washington, DC office (202) 224-2541
Louisville (502) 582-6304
Lexington (859) 224-8286
Fort Wright (859) 578-0188
London (606) 864-2026
Bowling Green (270) 781-1673
Paducah (270) 442-4554

The American Federation of Government Employees has a list of updates, ways to take action, and an activist toolkit (do not visit the website using a government computer or device): click here

 

Resources

If you are experiencing hardship as a result of the shutdown or if you would like to help, here are some are resources available:

  • Click here for Fairfax County’s list of ways to get help and ways to help others
  • Contact Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning office at (703) 222-0880 for assistance or visit their website here
  • Stuff the Bus food drive – events around the county from January 19 through February 18 – click here for details
  • Click here for USA Today’s list of major businesses offering freebies, waiving late fees, and offering assistance
  • Click here for a similar list of freebies and deals on patch.com
  • The Food for Others pantry is seeking donations and is providing emergency referrals for federal workers
  • Assistance at the Financial Empowerment Center of South County. Call (703) 704-6101 or email info@FECSoCo.org (through the United Way of the National Capital Area — you can donate to their Emergency Assistance Fund)
  • The Lorton Community Action Center is providing food and financial assistance for those living in Lorton, Newington, or Fort Belvoir. Click here for their website and click here to see their client information sheet detailing all the services LCAC offers and what is required to access assistance.
  • Catholic Charities DC Share Food Network provides affordable food packages for anyone, and there are several pick-up locations in Fairfax County.
  • United Community Ministries is providing food from its pantry, offering a 50% discount at its thrift shop (with federal ID), and is seeking volunteers. If you need assistance, contact them at (703) 768.7106 or at info@ucmagency.org
  • Free pet food for people affected by the Shutdown is being provided by Krisers and Whole Pet Central (Herndon)
  • Assistance such as extensions on water bill payments, and employment opportunities provided for residents of the Town of Vienna: click here
  • If you’d like to lean a new language, Rosetta Stone is offering federal employees impacted by the shutdown a free 3-month online subscription (offer expires Jan 31)
  • The Children’s Science Center at Fair Oaks is offering free admission for furloughed feds and contractors with proof of ID (click here for details)
  • Local &Pizza restaurants are offering free pies to federal workers from 6-8pm.  Click here to find locations.
  •  BRAWS: Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters is offering furloughed government employees menstrual supplies, Jan. 17 and 22. Click here for more details.
  • Grab a pre-paid cup of tea at the Elden St. Tea Shop in Herndon
  • Pay It Furloughed is organizing to buy beers at local breweries for federal workers.  You can score a beer or buy someone a beer.

Visit this post in the near future for more updates