PRESS RELEASE: VERMONT LEADERS STAND TOGETHER TO SUPPORT VERMONTERS AFFECTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
For Immediate Release
January 17, 2019
Contact: Katherine Levasseur
VERMONT LEADERS STAND TOGETHER TO SUPPORT VERMONTERS AFFECTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Montpelier, VT - Vermont legislative leaders today pledged action to help blunt negative impacts of the federal government shutdown. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate Pro Tempore Tim Ashe highlighted community and financial resources available to citizens and businesses in need, as citizen concerns mount amid fears the shutdown could last long enough to strain Vermont citizens and businesses.
“In Vermont we take care of one another and help neighbors through challenging times,” said Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Pro Tem Ashe. “The Vermont General Assembly is closely monitoring the federal shutdown to understand its impact on Vermont. We are committed to working collaboratively with Treasurer Pearce, community service and financial service providers, and other partners to develop proposals, where necessary, to protect Vermont from damages caused by the federal shutdown.”
The federal government shutdown began on December 22, 2018. Now, approaching four weeks of partial closures, daily reports have begun to describe the hardship caused to Vermont’s impacted federal workforce, citizens, farms, and businesses. Speaker Johnson and Pro Tem Ashe have been in close contact with Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce, who has been monitoring the status of State funds throughout the federal shutdown.
“The State has sufficient cash on hand and expects to weather the federal shutdown through March and into early April, if necessary,” said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. “This does not change the fact that the federal shutdown impacts individuals such as those receiving certain types of federal benefits, federal employees who work hard and expect to be paid, access to our historic sites and federal properties, and frankly, the loss of economic activity due to these disruptions. The bottom line is that this situation has real and lasting impacts on the financial well-being of Vermonters.”
At a press conference at the State House today, Speaker Johnson and Pro Tem Ashe were joined by representatives of Vermont’s banking and credit union community, as well as Avery Schwenk of Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro, who expressed frustration that the federal shutdown was impacting Vermont breweries and other businesses.
“The delays caused by the shutdown are doing serious damage to our small businesses and to our industry. We rely on our federal government partners for the approval of our new beer labels and our plans expansion. Without these approvals, we can’t release our new brands or grow our businesses. The ripple effects on our local economy, including our employees, retailers and bar owners will be far-reaching,” he said. “We are hoping for a resolution soon so we can get back to the business of making the best beer in the world.”
Speaker Johnson and Pro Tem Ashe encouraged impacted Vermonters to look at community service providers, local financial institutions, and at resources, such as those compiled on Vermont211, (http://www.vermont211.org/ or dial 211 or 1-866-652-4636), if they need to access services during this challenging time.
Vermont’s Congressional Delegation is also available to answer questions and direct Vermonters to available resources:
Senator Patrick Leahy’s Office: (802) 863-2525
Senator Bernie Sanders’s Office: 1-800-339-9834
Congressman Peter Welch’s Office: (802) 652-2450
The legislative leaders also reminded Vermonters that their offices are available as resources, should citizens wish to provide feedback on policies or proposals to address emerging needs caused by the federal shutdown.
Speaker Mitzi Johnson’s Office: (802) 828-2245
Senate President Tim Ashe’s Office: (802) 828-3806
“The federal shutdown is a very serious situation for Vermont. For Vermonters whose pay or business is in question due to dysfunction in Washington DC, we say this to you -- The State of Vermont is open for business,” Johnson and Ashe concluded.