AFGE workers huddle with president amid government shutdown debates

AFGE National President Everett Kelley speaks with members of District 14, American Federation of Government Employees, during their picnic on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Fort Washington, Maryland. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Cheers erupted at a picnic for D.C.-area government workers Saturday as Congress moved to pass a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown.

Members of District 14, American Federation of Government Employees, carried out their annual picnic amid shutdown concerns.

The local chapter of the union that represents government workers in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, welcomed its president Everett Kelley to the afternoon festivities at the Fort Washington National Park in Maryland.

Senators passed the temporary funding bill with overwhelming bipartisan support and President Joe Biden signed off on it late Saturday. The stopgap funding will keep the government open until Nov. 17.

Ahead of the Senate’s passage of the measure, Kelley credited the bill’s success in the House to a telephone campaign aimed at members of Congress.

“There were a lot of phone calls being made and so forth and the people were putting on some pressure…the power of the American people has spoken, they have spoken to the United States Congress and said that shutdown is not the way to deal with these issues…face them, head on, deal with them and do the job that we elected you to do,” Kelley said.

District 14, American Federation of Government Employees who represent the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, were in the audience on Sept. 30, 2023 in Fort Washington, Maryland. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Kelley said that any government shutdown would be hurtful not just to rank and file union members but also to the public at large, who would be denied services.

The union president added that a shutdown would also starve $5 billion dollars a week out of the national economy if federal employee paychecks were stopped.

“You’re talking about affecting the economy not just in this area, but the economy throughout the entire nation, because last shutdown, this economy took about an $11 billion hit…this shutting the government down will cost the American economy about $5 billion a week…that’s devastating,” Kelley said.


Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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