Partial Government Shutdown
I have heard questions from constituents regarding the operations of the Federal Government that will continue operating during the partial government shutdown. While some departments remain unfunded, some were covered by appropriations bills that have been signed into law.
For example, the Department of Defense has been funded, meaning servicemen and -women in the Armed Forces will continue to receive their paychecks. Similarly, President Trump signed into law spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs, so VA facilities remain open to treat our country’s heroes.
Americans dependent on Social Security will continue to get their checks, because the Social Security Administration was funded.
Other functions of the government are not funded, but the Trump Administration has committed to minimizing the pain inflicted by the partial shutdown. National parks remain accessible, and the National Park Service has used fees to provide upkeep. The National Flood Insurance Program continues to sell new policies and renew expiring ones.
Such actions represent a break from the past administration, which seemed to want Americans to feel government shutdowns as much as possible. Still, shutdowns cannot help but disrupt the lives of the employees going without paychecks, such as those at United States Prison Lee and the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.
So while the Trump Administration is trying to reduce the harm of the current partial shutdown, it has also sought in good faith to make a deal that would end it.
Just this past week, some Democrat Members of Congress, including Virginia’s Abigail Spanberger, joined the President at the White House to talk about a compromise. Although no deal was reached, they should be commended for showing up and for respecting the importance of the office of the Presidency.
The same cannot be said for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. While the President has offered concessions to the Democrats to address the pressing need for security on the southern border, Speaker Pelosi mockingly offered to give him one dollar.
These actions will do nothing to reopen the government, never mind make progress in ending the humanitarian and security crisis on the southern border. A compromise means both sides have to give some, but the Democrat leadership appears to view compromise as them giving nothing and the other side surrendering. Republicans stand ready to accept a reasonable compromise.
In my last column, I urged Nancy Pelosi to come to the table to negotiate and reach a compromise. I am sorry to report that she has not, but I would again urge her to do so immediately. Too much is at stake for the American people.
Committees are where much of the business of the House is conducted. They are where Members of Congress hold hearings on topics and consider legislation, providing a venue for some of the most substantive work we do.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, most recently on its Subcommittees on Health, Energy, and Oversight and Investigations.
Energy and Commerce has a broad portfolio covering many issues that affect Americans in their everyday lives, especially in the Ninth District. Some of these issues are among the most controversial in politics today, but others provide the basis for significant bipartisan cooperation. As a result, it is highly productive.
In the 115th Congress, which met from 2017-18, 57 E&C bills were signed into law. One hundred forty-eight passed the House, 93% of which received bipartisan votes. We also held 180 hearings and 36 markups for legislation.
Because of the new Democrat majority in the House, the number of Republican members on E&C subcommittees was reduced by over 30%. However, I am pleased to have been reappointed to the Subcommittees on Health, Energy, and Oversight and Investigations for the 116th Congress.
Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), the Republican Leader of E&C, said, “Morgan Griffith has proven to be one of the most diligent, hard-working members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and with his reappointment, he will continue to be an asset to our committee and for his Virginia constituents.”
I am thankful for the trust Congressman Walden and the Republican leaders placed in me by returning me to these Subcommittees. And I am ready to get back to work on them for the people of the Ninth District.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.