Warner to Trump: Time to end the government shutdown

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Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and other Members of Congress today sent a letter to President Trump on the  consequences of the government shutdown on housing security for more than four million households across the country.

The letter notes that both the short-term operations and long-term viability of affordable housing programs are dependent on Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) rental assistance initiatives. An estimated 2.2 million low-income households are among those at risk of eviction, including housing for thousands of veterans, seniors, and people living with disabilities.

“By now, virtually every American has either been hurt by this shutdown, or knows someone who has,” said Sen. Warner. “No one – particularly our most vulnerable citizens – should have to lose their home just so that the President can make a political point. This has to stop now. The President must allow the government to re-open before the damage gets even worse.”

The letter was spearheaded by Warner and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas).

“Every day that the Trump shutdown continues, more Texas children and families are placed in immediate danger of losing their housing,” said Rep. Veasey. “Public servants and their families should never be faced with eviction from their homes. This must end. That’s why Senator Warner and I urged the President and Secretary Carson to put aside politics and consider the unjust burden on Americans across the country.”

The letter says the “American people should not be used as leverage, or be held hostage, to fulfill a political agenda.

“The longer we extend the shutdown, the more harm will be done to seniors, families with children, people with disabilities, and other Americans who rely on these programs,” it says. “We urge you to end this shutdown and provide immediate relief to Americans being impacted by this funding crisis. In these times of uncertainty and tension, we must continue to prioritize the American people. We owe it to the people we serve to choose their best interest over politics.”

Warner volunteers at foodbank

Warner plans to volunteer Friday at an Arlington food pantry that serves Virginia families who are hurting as a result of President Trump’s shutdown.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center – one of several food pantries across the Commonwealth – is offering free groceries for federal employees and contractors struggling to afford basic necessities due to the government shutdown. According to reports, food pantries and food banks across the country have seen an uptick in federally connected families seeking assistance from these programs since missing their first paychecks on January 11.

While he’s there, Sen. Warner will also present the food bank with a check, upholding a promise to donate his congressional salary to charity for as long as the shutdown continues.

Warner recently won passage in the Senate of legislation to secure back pay for federal workers that is now signed into law. To reduce financial hardship during the shutdown, Sen. Warner also introduced a bill to protect federal workers from foreclosures, evictions and loan defaults during the shutdown. Additionally, Sen. Warner continues to press the Administration to reimburse federal contractors who are out of work and introduced legislation that would secure back pay for low- and middle-wage contractors.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.