Md., Va. lawmakers pen letter against government shutdown

Nearly four dozen Democratic state lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia on Monday sent Republican congressional leaders a letter urging them to avert a federal shutdown that "would be catastrophic to our regional economy."

Lawmakers reminded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner that the 2013 shutdown furloughed thousands of workers in the area and cut income and sales tax revenue to the states.

The lawmakers, 33 from Maryland and 11 from Virginia, wrote that the region has still not recovered from the recession and shouldn't have to weather politically motivated economic woes.

Congress has until Sept. 30 to reach a budget deal that funds federal agencies. Some congressional Republicans have vowed to fight any compromises that provide federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Del. Andrew Platt of Montgomery County and Del. Mark Sickles of Fairfax County in Virginia persuaded their colleagues to sign on to the letter.

"A repeat of the 2013 shutdown is an affront to the dignity of the people who make our federal government work," the letter concluded. "We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to consider these repercussions to our regional economy, before jeopardizing our already tenuous recovery with another government shutdown."

The government again faces a possible shutdown on Oct. 1 when the fiscal year ends. Congress is expected to consider a short-term stopgap spending bill that would keep the government running.

But some conservative lawmakers are demanding that any spending bill cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood. The effort follows the disclosure of secretly recorded videos in which Planned Parenthood officials are shown discussing how they sell fetal tissue for medical research.

Such a provision would face opposition from Democrats and a certain veto from President Barack Obama, the White House has said.