WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Federal employees are heading back to work this week as the White House and Democrats have a temporary deal to keep the government open. Our Alana Austin speaks with freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger about how all this is impacting her first term, and what she thinks should happen.
Stepping in to office, new Democratic Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says she’s excited to do the people’s work on Capitol Hill. The nation’s longest government shutdown put a hold on her moving forward with her top legislative priorities.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D/VA:
“campaign finance reform, prescription drug pricing legislation, addressing the opioid crisis, working on infrastructure…but we can’t focus on any of that until we’re back in a stable place,” said Spanberger.
Spanberger’s first big floor speech in the U.S. House of Representatives focused on how working Virginia families were financially crippled by the shutdown. The former CIA officer backs tougher border security but not at the expense of federal workers, or related industry.
“Professionally, I worked every day to keep this country safe from a terrorist threat, to keep drugs out of this country,” said Spanberger.
Spanberger points out that there are weak areas along the border for drugs to seep in, especially through the ports of entry.
“How do we create an effective measure? And I would argue it’s through radar, it’s through personnel, it’s through greater training, it’s through increased staffing, it’s through physical barriers – at certain points,” said Spanberger.
For now, both sides of the aisle vow to strike a deal before another potential government shutdown.
Spanberger – who flipped the district last November – says she will work to be a voice for all her constituents, regardless of party affiliation.
“I’m working every day to try and live up to the promises that I’ve made… we’re focused on the needs of central Virginians,” said Spanberger.
Spanberger says she’s also looking forward to leading a House Agriculture subcommittee focused on conservation and forestry.