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Reston chamber of commerce and others urge businesses to help workers if federal government shuts down

The U.S. Capitol Building in D.C. (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is joining other local chambers and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission to offer help to federal government employees and contractors if the government shuts down.

Local businesses can sign up online to offer a discount in the event Congress fails to pass a budget by this Friday, Nov. 17.

“Northern Virginia’s business community has always been generous in a time of need,” NVRC Chairman and Alexandria Council Member John Chapman said. “This effort is just one way we can let our friends and neighbors know that working together we can help those who are impacted by this unnecessary shutdown.”

Interested businesses can go online to sign up to list a discount. They must provide their location, contact information and a description of the discount offered.

So far, the chambers taking part in the initiative include Arlington, Greater Reston, Loudoun County, Prince William County and Purcellville Business Association.

NVRC is a council of 13 local governments in the Northern Virginia area. According to the organization’s senior regional demographer, Northern Virginia jurisdictions averaged 73,318 federal government jobs, as of the end of 2022, not including the region’s many federal contractors and military workers stationed at Fort Belvoir and other sites.

The federal government was on the verge of shutting down, starting Oct. 1, until lawmakers passed a last-minute, stopgap budget that would keep federal agencies and services like WIC — the program that provides food assistance to women and children — going until Nov. 17.

However, Congress still has not developed a new, longer-term plan to keep the lights on in Washington, as disagreements over emergency aid for Ukraine and Israel, among other issues, have stymied negotiations.

House Republicans unveiled a proposal on Saturday (Nov. 11) that would provide funding in two steps, covering some bills until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2, according to NBC News.

“Democrats in both chambers have made it abundantly clear that they hate the idea, as does the White House — all of whom want a simple extension of government funding without any gimmicks,” NBC News said. “Democrats’ unified opposition to the laddered [continuing resolution] could mean the House will ultimately have to swallow whatever clean or relatively clean CR the Senate passes.”

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