Hostage Crisis – Day 32: Federal Hostages Are Still Hostages #EndThisMitch

Former DocuSign CEO Keith Krach to be Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (E)

Posted: 4:04 am EST

On January 18, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate former CEO of DocuSign Keith Krach to be the State Department’s Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (E), to be the U.S. Alternate Governor for six international banks, and as Board of Director Member for OPIC. Below via the WH:

Keith Krach of California, to be:

  • Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
  • United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • United States Alternate Governor to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • United States Alternate Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank
  • United States Alternate Governor of the African Development Bank
  • United States Alternate Governor of the African Development Fund
  • United States Alternate Governor of the Asian Development Bank
  • A Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Mr. Krach is Chairman and former CEO of DocuSign, and was also the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Ariba.  Prior to that, Mr. Krach was Chief Operating Officer of Rasna Corporation and served as the first Entrepreneur and CEO-in-Residence for Benchmark Capital.  Mr. Krach began his career at General Motors.  Mr. Krach served as Chairman of Purdue University’s Board of Trustees, Chairman of Angie’s List, and is Chairman of the DocuSign Impact Foundation.  He received his B.S. and Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

The Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment oversees the following functional bureaus at the State Department.

Per history.state.gov, on Jul 13, 1972, Congress established separate and permanent positions at the Under Secretary of State level for Economic Affairs and for Political Affairs, in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (P.L. 92-352; 86 Stat. 490). On Aug 16, 1985, Congress changed the title to include Agricultural Affairs (P.L. 99-93; 99 Stat. 405). The Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary (previously Under Secretary) on matters relating to foreign economic and commercial policy. Specified duties, responsibilities, and assignments have varied over time. Each incumbent is commissioned with a functional designation as part of his title. On May 12, 1994, the title was changed to “Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs.” On December 8, 2011, the title was changed to “Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.”

Going back to 1946, out of the 18 previous appointees, only two career diplomats have ever been appointed as “E” under secretary  (Mann and Larson).  This non-career nomination for the “E” bureau is not surprising. If confirmed, Mr. Krach would succeed Catherine A. Novelli who was Vice-President of Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple prior to her 2013 nomination.

#

RIP Tony Mendez #CanadianCaper #Argo

Posted: 3:34 am EST

 

Aeroméxico’s New Ad ‘DNA Discounts’ #PR #Ogilvy

Via Ogilvy

“Aeromexico wants everyone to know that there are no borders within us. And while the US is the top destination for people flying from Mexico, Mexico is far from the top destination for people flying from the US. To change that, Aeromexico set out to prove that for many people, Mexico isn’t just a place on the other side of the border.”

#

White House Submits Some @StateDept/Related Agencies Re-nominations to the Senate

Posted: 4:52 am EST

Via WH, January 16, 2019

 

STATE DEPARTMENT

Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management), vice Patrick Francis Kennedy.

David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs), vice Anne W. Patterson, resigned.

David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs), vice Daniel R. Russel.

Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights), vice Sarah Sewall, resigned.

R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs), vice Puneet Talwar, resigned.

Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, vice Tomasz P. Malinowski.

Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, of Wisconsin, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador.

Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration), vice Anne Claire Richard.

Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation for a term expiring September 20, 2020, vice Adolfo A. Franco, term expired.

 

AMBASSADORS/POLITICAL

John P. Abizaid, of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Edward F. Crawford, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.

David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Jeffrey Ross Gunter, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland.

Kenneth A. Howery, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

Ronald Douglas Johnson, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador.

Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.

John Rakolta Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

 

AMBASSADORS/CAREER

Kate Marie Byrnes, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Macedonia.

Michael J. Fitzpatrick, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Ecuador.

W. Patrick Murphy, of Vermont, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Matthew H. Tueller, of Utah, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq.

Note: There appears to be three career diplomats on the Executive Calendar whose nominations have not been resubmitted to the Senate with this list (Robert K. Scott for Republic of Malawi; Francisco Luis Palmieri for Honduras, and Joseph E. Macmanus for Colombia). Also many more names that were pending in the SFRC last year that we expected to see renominated but as of this writing, the White House has not done so except for a couple nominees. It could just be a matter of time. We expected this list to come out the first week of January, and the names were only sent to the Senate on January 16. We’ll be in the look out for that other long list. 

USUN

Andrew P. Bremberg, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador.

Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

BBG

Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.  (New Position)

USAID

John Barsa, of Florida, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Marcela Escobari.

Mina Chang, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Jonathan Nicholas Stivers.

Richard C. Parker, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice T. Charles Cooper, resigned.

PEACE CORPS

Alan R. Swendiman, of North Carolina, to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, vice Carlos J. Torres.

 

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK

Spencer Bachus, III, of Alabama, to be Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Patricia M. Loui, term expired.

Claudia Slacik, of New York, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Sean Robert Mulvaney.

Kimberly A. Reed, of West Virginia, to be President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2021, vice Fred P. Hochberg, resigned.

OPIC

Irving Bailey, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2021, vice Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, term expired.

Christopher P. Vincze, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2019, vice Todd A. Fisher, term expired.

MCC

Alexander Crenshaw, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Mark Green, term expired.

George M. Marcus, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Morton H. Halperin, term expired.

WHO: Brett P. Giroir, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, vice Thomas Frieden.

IMF: Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years, vice Margrethe Lundsager, resigned.

OSCE: James S. Gilmore, of Virginia, to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.

OSCD: Pamela Bates, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Shutdown Day#27: @StateDept, Also a National Security Agency, Now Says, We Just Found Some Money, Come Back to Work

Posted: 4:19 am EST

On January 17, on the 27th day of the Trump Shutdown, the State Department released an  Urgent Message from the Deputy Under Secretary for Management William Todd instructing employees to return to work on their first work day in Pay Period 2, which is either January 20, or January 22 depending on their  location and start of their work week.  Apparently, he has found some money to pay employees, and this would allow the agency to resume most personnel operations.  Which should be a relief to agency employees here and in over 275 overseas locations where people are worried not only about paying their bills, but also something as basic as obtaining heating oil during the winter months. We’re not sure if this would save those who are already considering curtailments, even resignations, and seeking work elsewhere.

Mr. Todd’s message did not explain where he found the money, why it took four weeks to find it, and why we’re just seeing “national security agency” and “imperative” to describe the State Department and its mission on the 4th week of the shutdown.

Given the poor track record here, we’re concerned that people are asked to go back to work while the State Department is “taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries.”

What does that even mean? Where is the State Department getting those additional funds? Is it planning to break into Fort Knox?

Also we’re not sure who were actually told about this in the “M” family bureaus. Apparently, people are calling FSI to see what this means. Can they go back to language training even if many of the instructors are contractors?

Reported FSI’s response, “We don’t know. We found out when you did.”

Holy guacamole, so Deputy M’s message is just like a presidential tweet but longer than 280!

ABC News has this nugget from an unnamed spox:

While the department could have taken this step to pay employees as soon as the shutdown started, it didn’t largely because no one anticipated the shutdown to last this long.

“It has become clear as the lapse has continued to historic lengths that we need our full team to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC News. “We are also deeply concerned about growing financial hardship and uncertainty affecting Department employees whose salaries and well-being are affected by the unprecedented length of the lapse.”

Whaaaat? Also U.S. leadership yabayabado frak!

The United States has become the subject of alarm and jokes from all continents except perhaps from the sober penguins of Antarctica. In these abnormal times, the Emperor penguins, by the way, boldly  want to know how many more bananas do we want?

Politico’s Nahal Toosi also has a comment from longest serving M, Patrick Kennedy:

Pat Kennedy, a former senior State Department official who oversaw management issues at the agency for years, said Thursday that diplomats should have been exempted from the shutdown from the start.

“As a national security agency, no one should have ever been furloughed” at the State Department, he wrote in an email. “And the available funds balances should have been utilized from the beginning so that all employees were paid all along.”

What that State Department spox forgot to add to ABC News is — “M” shoes are too big to fill for some people. Who knew?  (see Wait – @StateDept Has a Deputy “M” Again, a Position Discontinued by Congress in 1978). We should note that the State Department had a Senate- confirmed M, and a Senate-confirmed DGHR when Rex Tillerson took office but both were gone fairly quickly under T-Rex’s watch.

Also two years on in this administration, the State Department still does not have a Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Management. The first Trump nominee for M during Tillerson’s time had an SFRC hearing but was then withdrawn. The second Trump nominee for M, Brian Bulatao, this time under Pompeo, had his nomination returned to the president at the end of last Congress. That nomination was resubmitted to the U.S. Senate on January 16. Since the GOP has an expanded majority in the U.S. Senate, we expect that this nomination will get through the confirmation process at some point, unless a GOP senator finds some issue with it.

Below is the Deputy M message, original statement posted here:

As a national security agency, it is imperative that the Department of State carries out its mission. We are best positioned to do so with fully staffed embassies, consulates, and domestic offices.

Recognizing the increasing hardship to employees caused by the ongoing lapse in appropriations, the Department is taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries. By taking these steps, the Department expects to be able to resume most personnel operations and fund most salaries beginning with Pay Period 2. As a result, all State Department direct-hire employees and State Department locally employed staff are expected to report to work on their first work day in Pay Period 2. For most employees, that will be January 22. For some overseas posts, where Sunday is the first day of the work week, that will be January 20. Contractors should contact their COR for reporting instructions.

Employees will be paid for work performed beginning on or after January 20 and will receive paychecks for Pay Period 2 on time on February 14. Beyond Pay Period 2, we will review balances and available legal authorities to try to cover future pay periods.

Employees, including those who have performed excepted functions, will not be paid for Pay Period 26 and Pay Period 1(the time period between December 22, 2018, and January 19, 2019) until FY 2019 appropriations are enacted.

Although most personnel operations can resume, bureaus and posts are expected to adhere to strict budget constraints with regard to new spending for contracts, travel, and other needs, consistent with Section B of the Department’s guidance on lapse in appropriations.

Thank you for your continued cooperation.

Very Best Regards,
Bill Todd
Deputy Under Secretary for Management

Please note that even if State Department employees start getting paid again, there are thousands more federal employees who are forced to work without pay, and many more sent home without pay. Here are some upcoming dates in the next couple of weeks. See more at CNBC:

Jan. 20: Deadline to make early food stamp payments

Jan. 25: Workers start missing next paychecks

Jan. 28: IRS expected to start accepting tax filings

Jan. 29: State of the Union

Feb. 8: Third missed paycheck

This is no way to run a country, but this is how our country is run these days. No wonder the Emperor penguins in Moscow are also laughing their heads off.

Mental Health Resources, Staff Care, Counseling Assistance, Hotlines For Furloughed Employees

Posted: 3:06 am EST

 

+ State Department Mental Health Resources

Via STATE: MED’s Employee Consultation Services (ECS) office remains open with reduced staffing during the furlough. You can reach ECS at 703-812-2257 or email MEDECS@state.gov.  We emailed MEDECS and received the following auto-response email:

Thank you for contacting our office. During this lapse in appropriation period, Employee Consultation Services (ECS) continues to provide urgent short-term counseling services for domestic and overseas staff, Family Advocacy case management, urgent consultations, and referrals. Please provide a short narrative of ‎the nature of your urgent request and one of our clinicians will correspond as soon as possible or you can reach our office during DC working hours at 703-812-2257. For other urgent requests after working hours, please contact us at 202-320-7493.

Worklife4you is also available for consultations and referral services 24/7 at 866-552-4748, worklife4you.com.

WorkLife4You (WL4Y) is a comprehensive and confidential resource and referral for employees. WL4Y specialists are accessible 24/7 by phone (1-866-552-4748) and online to provide expert guidance and referrals for a wide variety of services to help employees balance the demands of their professional and personal lives. Employees can view the services by logging into the website, www.Worlklife4You.com, with the Screen name: statedepartment and Password: infoquest. Employees will need to register individually to use the services.

+ USAID Staff Care

Via USAID Administrator Mark Green: Our colleagues who are managing the email box shutdown_info@usaid.gov briefed me that they have received several questions about whether Staff Care remains open. Yes, it does. Staff Care is available to the USAID workforce throughout the funding lapse. Staff Care does great work, and we encourage you to reach out whenever necessary. As we have heard about some of the challenges our colleagues are facing at this time, we encourage you to share this message broadly.

We encourage you and your colleagues to reach out whenever necessary to Staff Care, which will remain available throughout the lapse in appropriations. The Staff Care Call Center is open 24/7 and can be accessed through the toll-free phone number below or the website. The Staff Care Services Center in Washington, D.C., at 601 13th Street, N.W., Suite 900 South, is open for walk-ins and appointments from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. You may make appointments for the Staff Care Services Center through the call-center line as well.

Staff Care Services 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, 365 Days a Year
Free Phone: 877-988-7243
Direct Dial: 919-645-4960
Reverse Charge Calling: +44-0-208-987-6200 (Call your international operator and request the charges be reversed to the number listed above.)
TTY: 888-262-7848
SMS: 314-910-7728
EMail: support@usaidstaffcarecenter.net

Website: staffcare.usaid.gov
Registration code: USAID

USAID Staff Care Services Center
601 13th Street, N.W.
Suite 900 South
Washington, D.C. 20005

+Peace Corps: Personal Counseling Assistance – Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program remains available throughout the lapse.  Feel free to contact 1-888-993-7650.

+ Washington, D.C. Behavioral Health Community-based Service Providers

You can call or visit a provider to help you make a choice. And, you can talk with a mental health counselor at our 24/7 Access Helpline 1-888-7WE-HELP to help you select the most appropriate provider. Check link for list of providers and contact info.

  • Same Day Urgent Care
    You can walk into a clinic located at 35 K Street N and be seen the same day without an appointment from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Services include assessment, counseling, psychiatric evaluation and medication management. You may be referred to a community provider for ongoing care. If you have questions, please call (202) 442-4202.

+ Alexandria VA Emergency Hotlines

If you are in a crisis and need to talk to someone, call the CrisisLink Hotline at 703.527.4077 or text “connect” to 85511 (for TTY, dial 711), or the Department of Community & Human Services Emergency Services at 703.746.3401.

+ Montgomery County Crisis Center

The Crisis Center provides crisis mental health services 24 hours a day/365 days a year.  Services are provided by telephone (240-777-4000) or in person at 1301 Piccard Drive in Rockville (no appointment needed).  Visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/Program.aspx?id=BHCS/BHCS24hrcrisiscenter-p204.html.

 

 

Counties, Utility Companies Offer Assistance to Furloughed Federal Employees in D.C. Area

Posted: 2:30 am EST

On January 14, we posted Furlough Assistance For Federal Employees and Pets During Shutdown. This is a follow-up list focusing on county assistance, and Washington, D.C. area utility companies that hopefully can be of use to you.  H/T to peacecorps.gov for the original utilities list offering assistance to furloughed employees. We have supplemented their list.

 

Arlington County Utility Payment Plans for Furloughed Federal Employees 

If you are a furloughed federal employee and are struggling to pay your County Utility Bill, please call our Customer Contact Center at 703-228-6570. You may be eligible for a payment arrangement that will allow you to extend your payment without the accrual of any late fees.

Fairfax County Coordinated Services Planning (CSP)

CSP connects Fairfax County residents to county and community-based services and resources. Just one phone call will get you connected to the information and assistance you need. Call 703-222-0880, TTY 711. In addition, our multilingual staff can assist callers in Amharic, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, French, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Pashto, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tigrinya and Urdu. CSP services are also available in other languages through the use of an interpreter.

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 17, Fairfax Connector will provide free rides system-wide for federal government employees affected by the government shutdown who are still required to report for work.

  • You must show your federal photo ID to the bus operator when boarding to ride free.
  • By showing your federal photo ID, trips taken on all Fairfax Connector bus routes are free, including express routes to and from the Pentagon and Downtown D.C.

Alexandria, VA for  food assistance and other resources, call 703.746.5902

The Reston Community Center will be offering special summer camp fee waivers for affected families. To be eligible for this shutdown program, families must present their federal government employee identification when registering for 2019 camp sessions. Affected federal departments include Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury. Patrons must also live or work in Reston to receive the special fee waiver.  Affected families will pay $10 per child per week of camp; some camps are half-day in length. RCC offers an “after-care” option called Zen Zone for those in less than a full day of camp, which would cost another $10 for enrollment under the fee waiver program.

Loudoun County 

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has approved financial aid to local food pantries and a temporary fee waiver for federal workers who ride Loudoun County Transit buses. The Board also approved the allocation of up to $25,000 to Loudoun Hunger Relief and the Dulles South Food Pantry to help the organizations meet any increase in requests for food assistance caused by the federal government shutdown.

Prince George’s County Relief Package

From Angela D. Alsobrooks Prince George’s County Executive:

“Yesterday we held an event with several local partners to announce a “shutdown relief package” for Prince George’s County residents who are currently furloughed by the federal government shutdown. Through a combination of county government resources and contributions from community partners, we are offering a package of resources that will help bring some stability and security to families who are trying to figure out how to pay the bills or put food on the table. While we do not know how long this shutdown will continue, we want our county residents who are struggling to know that we have your back. I’d like to highlight a couple of the resources being provided by the county below:

Maryland National Capital Park and Planning, through their Department of Parks and Recreation, will waive membership fees for any federal worker affected by the shutdown. You may use any of their exercise facilities. The department is also waiving childcare fees for furloughed workers until the end of the shutdown.

I have authorized our county budget director to put an additional $70,000 into our Emergency Assistance Fund, giving us a total of $150,000 to help those with immediate financial need. The fund can help with items such as delinquent mortgages, utility bills and other financial needs.

While these are resources that the county is providing, local partners in the community have stepped up to provide several resources as well. We’ve built a webpage that lists all the resources currently being offered to furloughed workers, and we will continue to update it as we get more commitments. To find all those resources, please visit the site at: www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/shutdown.

Washington, DC Area Utility Companies 

Pepco waived late fees and said customers could call to set up budget billing or move bill due dates. The utility also created a $50,000 matching grant to an emergency fund created by the United Way of the National Capital Area.
D.C. customers can call 1-800-735-2258;
Maryland customers can call 1-800-643-3768.

D.C. Water said in a statement that it would “immediately begin working with any federal worker who may need additional flexibility in paying their bill.” Programs include extended payment plans and assistance offered through the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment.
Customers can call 202-354-3600.

Washington Gas said in a statement that it will “offer flexible payment arrangements for government employees directly impacted” by the shutdown. Programs include payment deferments, budget plans and help through a fuel assistance fund.
Customers can call 1-844-WASHGAS.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission  WSSC will suspend all water service shutoffs to ensure safe, clean water continues to flow to customer’s homes. Additionally, the state’s largest water utility serving 1.8 million residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will delay bill payments, waive all late fees, and work one-on-one with customers impacted by the shutdown to establish convenient payment plans.  In addition to these new assistance measures targeted to customers impacted by the federal shutdown, WSSC offers a variety of affordability programs to help customers in need.
Customers are encouraged to contact WSSC and speak with a representative at 301-206-4001 or 1-800-828-6439 to discuss their specific situation.

Dominion Energy doesn’t have a program specifically for furloughed workers, but the utility has a number of options for energy assistance, including budget billing and programs offered through the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Customers can call 866-366-4357.

The Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF): Founded by Washington Gas and administered by The Salvation Army, WAFF helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. WAFF provides funds for all types of fuel to heat families’ homes during the winter heating season. Through its merger with AltaGas, Washington Gas has increased its funding to WAFF and broadened WAFF’s eligibility beyond low-income customers. For example, a family of four earning $75,050 could qualify for assistance. WAFF also accepts donations to assist neighbors in need. Every dollar donated to WAFF goes directly to those who need assistance because Washington Gas pays the administrative fees of the fund. For more information or to apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 888-318-WAFF (9233) or visit http://washingtonareafuelfund.org/.

 

Emergency Food Via AFL-CIO-United Way

Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO | 202-974-8226

Non-perishable canned and dry goods available while supplies last. Must make appointment to pick-up by emailing sducote@dclabor.org.

Capital Area Food Bank https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/programs-2/#Distribution

Northern Virginia Family Service Emergency Food Assistance (NVFS) https://www.nvfs.org/our-services/healthwell-being/food-assistance/

See more AFL-CIO Government Shutdown Resources

American Federation of Government Employees(AFGE)/Feeding America

Find Your Local Food Bank

#

Operation Chaos: $4.2Billion and counting, this is the ongoing #TrumpShutdown cost to U.S. taxpayers

Posted: 12:13 am EST

Via shutdowncalculator.com

Note: We will keep this counter on the blog’s side bar until the federal government reopens. Thanks XX!  For those who do not like the name of this shutdown, please watch this “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it” video before sending us a love letter.

#

 

@StateDept Issues “To Whom It May Concern” Departmental Letter to Creditors

Posted: 3:22 pm PST

 

Below is the letter the State Department issued for employees to send to their creditors. This is exactly the same text of the letter issued by the Department of Homeland Security to its employees on December 22, 2018.  Please DM or email us whether this letter has any effect on the response creditors extended to you. Also, if any grocery chain accepts this in lieu of payment, please give us a holler.

Via state.gov: