Bonds Calls to Declare All DC Employees Essential

Councilmember Anita Bonds (D – At Large) called today for the Council of the District of Columbia to declare all District employees essential in the event of a federal government shutdown. The shutdown, which would furlough up to a third of public employees and cease vital services in the District, would have devastating effects on the residents and the economy of the District of Columbia.

“The services that the DC government provides are a necessity for the safety and health of every resident, employee, and visitor,” stated Councilmember Bonds. She added, “The District of Columbia is exceptional in that it performs the functions of a municipality, a country, and a state—and all of these services are interrelated and codependent.”

“Additionally, we must consider the economic impact upon the workers and their families, who will be forced to go without pay indefinitely.”

Councilmember Bonds was also quick to highlight Congress’s own interest in keeping DC government operational when she said, “Congress should recognize the serious liability in shutting down a local government that provides absolutely essential services not only to its residents, but to the federal government. I’m baffled as to why they don’t see the impact this shutdown will have on them just as it will on the rest of us.”

Noting that the budget autonomy referendum, which secured her endorsement, unlinking the local budget from congressional oversight was passed overwhelmingly last spring by the District voter, Councilmember Bonds pointed out that, “It’s money that we collect, not part of federal taxes, and our residents expect to see those tax dollars spent on the services they use every day. We need to keep Congress out of DC affairs, so that we can keep the nation’s capital all that it should be.”

According to the office of Chairman Phil Mendelson, an emergency measure could be introduced next Tuesday which would declare all District of Columbia essential and would need nine votes to be submitted to Mayor Vincent C. Gray for consideration.

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