Virginians Avoid Disastrous Shutdown, No Thanks To These Republicans

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Carolyn Fiddler

October 2, 2023

Hundreds of thousands of Virginians breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday night as federal employees, active duty military, and the contractors who work closely with the government learned that an Oct. 1 shutdown had been narrowly avoided.

Both of Virginia’s U.S. senators and eight members of its House delegation supported the measure to keep the government open, albeit temporarily. But three Virginia Republicans voted against the bipartisan agreement to keep the government funded through mid-November.

Despite the fact that Virginia is arguably the state hardest-hit by federal government shutdowns, Republican U.S. Reps. Ben Cline (VA-06), Bob Good (VA-05), and Morgan Griffith (VA-09) all attempted to block the bill keeping the federal government open and federal employees and members of the military paid.

Virginia is second only to California in terms of residents holding federal jobs; specifically, 144,000 residents of the commonwealth receive their paychecks from the U.S. government, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (although a recent congressional report puts that number at 170,000). Virginia is also first among all 50 states in military spending, with much of that funding divided between the Pentagon in northern Virginia and Naval Station Norfolk in Hampton Roads. The commonwealth is home to more than 89,000 active duty members of the military.

This adds up to a disproportionate amount of pain felt by Virginians whenever Congress’s fiscal failures result in a government shutdown; federal workers and active-duty military don’t get paid if the government isn’t open.

Cline and Good took to X (Twitter) to explain their “no” votes on the legislation that kept the government open.

“Continuing the bloated Pelosi spending levels and the chaos of Biden’s open border is unacceptable,” wrote Cline.

Good took aim at both his own party and Democrats in his post.

“Kevin McCarthy put a CR on the Floor that got 209 Democrat votes, since it kept in place the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer policies that are destroying the country and the spending levels that are bankrupting us. Sadly, it also got 126 Republican votes. Uni-Party rule,” he wrote.

Griffith has not commented publicly on his vote.

Virginia Democrats attacked the three Republican congressmen for their votes against funding the federal government for an additional 45 days.

“Our economy, national security, and so many of Virginia’s hardworking families would have been harmed by the government shutdown if these MAGA extremists had succeeded. Thankfully, Democrats from Virginia and across the country voted to keep the government open,” Democratic Party of Virginia chair Susan Swecker said in a press statement.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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