Dear Neighbor:

On October 1, the federal government will shut down if Congress does not pass legislation to fund the government. House Republican leadership has abandoned the bipartisan budget deal they made earlier this year in favor of catering to the extreme demands of a small group of Members, who, in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s own words, “just want to burn the whole place down.

I’m doing everything in my power to prevent a shutdown: for every American who depends on the federal government to deliver on its promises, for the more than 56,000 federal employees in the Eighth District, the more than 140,000 federal employees in Maryland, for the hundreds of thousands more across the country, and for the integrity of the United States Congress.

This month Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia and I introduced the End Shutdowns Act, legislation to prevent shutdowns by initiating an automatic continuing resolution to fund the government if Congress is unable to pass an appropriations bill by the end of the fiscal year. I also wrote Speaker Kevin McCarthy with colleagues in the Progressive Caucus urging him to put forward a clean, bipartisan government funding bill rather than favor fringe conservative demands.

While I continue to do everything I can to avert a government shutdown, I’m being realistic and writing to share what a shutdown could mean for our community, particularly the tens of thousands of federal employees and servicemembers who call the Eighth District home—and how we can all get through this together.

Please know that certain basic lifeline government services won’t be affected, like your Medicare, Social Security and VA benefits. It’s also important to know that federal retirees will continue to receive their pensions, and the U.S. Postal Service will not be disrupted.

But if the federal government shuts down, other essential functions Americans depend on will become inaccessible. Notably, many federal employees in our district and across America will be barred from working and will not collect their pay until after the shutdown ends. Significantly, due to a 2019 law I helped pass, federal employees will now automatically receive backpay when a shutdown ends. A shutdown may also halt some contracts with the federal government, hurting small businesses in our community and, if it drags on, even putting some federal contractors out of work. Other sectors of our public life may also be affected. Depending on the duration of a shutdown, air travel disruptions may increase, and Americans could lose access to public resources we treasure, including some national parks, and museums like the Smithsonian that rely on federal support.

Rest assured that my office will remain available to constituents who need my assistance during a shutdown; I have designated all of my employees “essential.” However, please be patient and remember that during a shutdown, federal agencies may be less responsive to my District Office’s attempts to advance our constituent casework. For more information for federal employees on federal agency contingency plans, check out the White House’s Office of Management and Budget website. I also encourage you to refer to this 2021 guide from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for more answers to your questions.

I remain extremely frustrated that the Republican-led House is unwilling to honor its basic fiscal responsibilities and is pursuing a path that would make America less safe, interrupt government services, damage contractors and small businesses, create hardship for federal workers, and force military servicemembers to work without pay. I do not comprehend the logic of foisting this chaos and hardship on our own people. I’m sending my solidarity to everyone in the Eighth District during this hard time, and I am determined to continue doing all that I can to ensure that our government will serve our people with excellence.

Thanks for your continuing support in my health journey; my cancer is in remission and my hair is coming back curly (although grayer than I might have hoped)!

With gratitude, resolve and shared purpose,

Jamie Raskin


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