The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will aid hundreds of area federal employees and contractors facing hardships during the partial government shutdown.
On Wednesday night, the board approved the appropriation of up to $25,000 in the fiscal 2019 budget for Loudoun Hunger Relief and the Dulles South Food Pantry. Additionally, transit and commuter bus fees will also be waived starting Monday for a period of the shutdown to federal government employees "that are not receiving paychecks," a phrase that was discussed by board members.
“There are going to be other things we are going to try and do ... but these two things will start to ensure people are eating,” Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said. “You need to have food, shelter and heat—especially this weekend—and if we can do that that would be real important, and if we can get people to and from work who are not getting paid without costing them money that would all be helpful.”
Randall inquired earlier this week how the board could help federal employees and contractors during the shutdown.
Last month, President Donald Trump (R) and Congress failed to fund the government after the president demanded, but did not receive, more than $5 billion to fund a border wall between parts of the United States and Mexico. The ongoing dispute has impacted more than 400,000 federal workers in the region. Non-essential government employees have been off work since Dec. 22.
Many federal workers who live in Loudoun County have been furloughed or forced to work without pay.
Supervisor Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles) made two amendments to Randall’s motions out of concern for finances and logistics. The amendments setting limitations on how much is offered to the pantries and offering transit waivers to employees "not receiving a paycheck" were approved without objection.
“I realize this has come together quickly and I appreciate the intent of it, I agree with it, but we have to make sure its executed properly and we can manage it,” Letourneau said.
The board voted 7-0-2 with Supervisors Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) absent.
The board is also considering supporting Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if needed.
On Friday, Randall will also be sharing opportunities for financial assistance and how the county can assist federal workers and contractors that reside in the county. She is holding a Friday press conference at 9 a.m. in the county board room.