NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was joined by the Virginia Ship Repair Association executive board for a press conference in Norfolk on Monday after Congress voted to pass a temporary funding bill to keep the government open for 45 days on Saturday.
The bill allows lawmakers additional time to negotiate and pass a full government funding bill.
As part of the press conference, Warner called on Congress to spend these 45 days working to come to a bipartisan agreement in order to avoid another costly shutdown threat.
“There is no state in the country that would be harder hit by a government shutdown than Virginia and there is no part of Virginia that would be harder hit by a government shutdown than Hampton Roads,” Warner said Monday.
Saturday’s last minute deal in Congress ensures that active duty troops will be paid, air travel won’t be interrupted and programs such as Head Start, SNAP and WIC continue.
It also includes $16 billion in disaster relief funds, but left out any new funding for Ukraine.
“That is not international security interest,” Warner said.
He denounced what he called a minority of a minority within the Republican party that he said want to “stick it to Ukraine”.
“The price that was extracted by these extremists was to say the United States should walk away from its commitment to Ukraine,” Warner stated.
Warner called Congress’s actions completely irresponsible. The temporary agreement allows the government to stay open, but until a new deal is reached, ship maintenance and repairs are in limbo.
Virginia Ship Repair Association President Bill Crow explained, “In regards to the industry – what is of biggest concern – or what we’ve seen over the years is operating under a CR.”
A CR, or Continuing Resolution, means the Navy is limited to last year’s budget for repairs and maintenance needed this year.
“This is the stupidest business decision ever; it costs the taxpayers money,” Warner said.
Warner told WAVY it could put military readiness at risk.
The deadline for a budget agreement is now November 17, just before the holidays.
“We gotta get it done. It’s important not only for the 60,000 folks that work in ship repair, but it’s important for literally our Armed Forces.”
Warner has previously stressed the devastating effect of a shutdown on servicemembers, small businesses, families who depend on nutrition assistance, airports, government contractors and more.
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