I support this bipartisan agreement because it is long past time to end this reckless shutdown of the Federal Government. For the past two weeks, residents and small businesses across Northern Virginia have shared with me the painful effects of being furloughed, losing contract work, or having access to Medicare and veteran benefits frozen. No state was harder hit than Virginia, and Northern Virginia, with its large number of federal employees, contractors, and federal facilities, has borne a disproportionate share of the pain.
The failure of some to compromise once again pushed us to the verge of a historic default on the nation's credit. Even the threat of defaulting on the nation's credit has led to disastrous effects for our region. The Fitch credit rating agency cited that hyper-partisanship when it placed the U.S. on a negative credit watch list. The last time political brinkmanship brought us to the verge of default in August 2011, it resulted in a historic downgrading of the nation's credit, and it also jeopardized the AAA rating of several Northern Virginia jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.
It is unconscionable for members of one caucus to hold the American people and the economy hostage simply because one faction or another does not get their way. Unlike the Tea Party members of Congress, local elected officials in my district, including Republicans, know that making government work for taxpayers is the number one priority and that taxpayers count on their government to function properly. I am pleased to have been a part of the efforts by pragmatic Democrats to reach out to moderate Republicans to initiate the discussions that helped lead to resolution of this reckless shutdown and manufactured fiscal crisis.