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VA Sen. Warner Introduces Stop STUPIDITY Act in Response to Shutdown

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Things have been embarrassing lately for Virginia constituents, but today a bright light emerged. I received this communication from Sen. Mark Warner, our previous governor (2002- 2006) and our US Senator since 2008. He's currently Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee .

This is the kind of thing that makes me hopeful.

Dear Friend,

On Friday, I met with government contractors in Springfield, VA to hear their stories and learn exactly how they were impacted by President Trump's government shutdown. Their hard work as custodians, cafeteria workers, IT professionals, and in other important jobs allows our government to function more efficiently.

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Many of these contractors live paycheck to paycheck, and during the shutdown, a lot of folks had no choice but to turn to loans or dip into their savings to pay for rent, medications, and other essentials. For this reason, many families in Virginia are finding it particularly hard to recover from the shutdown's financial impact.

Sen. Mark Warner with constituents
Sen. Mark Warner with constituents
(Image by Sen. Mark Warner)
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To make matters worse, thousands of federal contractors in Virginia are not currently eligible to receive back pay. This means that, even though the government is back open, these workers have no way to make up for 35 days' worth of missed pay.

This lack of back pay makes an already difficult situation worse for these workers, which is why I introduced a bill to give back pay to low and middle-income federal contractors. My bill would replace missed wages for workers making less than $50,200 per year, and would also provide some moderate compensation to higher-earning contractors hit by the shutdown. It would also restore paid leave for workers who were required to use it during the shutdown.

I've also introduced legislation, the Stop STUPIDITY Act, that would end future shutdowns and prevent federal employees and contractors from being furloughed or forced to work without pay simply because Congress and the White House can't get their acts together. I hope in the coming days, Congress will put an end to these destructive, pointless shutdowns once and for all.

If there's an issue that's important to you or a question you'd like to ask, I invite you to send me an email and follow my work in the Senate on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Warner

In addition, Warner invited a federal employee hurt by the 35-day government shutdown, as his guest to the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, as noted in the press release below:


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Feb 04 2019

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) announced that he will be inviting a federal employee who works in Petersburg, Va., as his guest to the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. Cheryl Nazar, a nurse at a federal prison, is one of the thousands of federal employees who were hurt by the 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

"As a public servant working one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, for 35 days Cheryl had to continue providing care for inmates, despite the fact that her own safety and security was being compromised by the government shutdown," said. Sen. Warner. "Since President Trump never took the time to meet with any federal workers during the shutdown, I hope Cheryl's presence at the State of the Union will send a message that there are real people with real families who shouldered the burden of his shutdown, and make clear to the President that we can't afford another."

On December 22, 2018, funding lapsed for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, furloughing up to half its 36,000-person staff and forcing the rest, including prison guards, to work for the duration without pay. During the shutdown, correctional officers were frequently forced to work extended shifts, resulting in potentially dangerous levels of fatigue. Other staff without the proper training were sometimes called upon to fill in for prison guards who, struggling to support their families without their regular paychecks, called out sick in order to work second jobs - leading to understaffed conditions that put the safety of prison employees like Cheryl Nazar, a nurse, at risk.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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