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Local Leaders Call For Shutdown To End

Rachel Baye

Audio coming soon.   

The leaders of five Baltimore-area jurisdictions said Wednesday that the ongoing federal government shutdown is straining local resources, including food assistance programs. At a press conference in Annapolis, they urged Congress and President Donald Trump to end the shutdown immediately.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman estimated that there are about 50,000 government employees and contractors who live in his county and are not getting paid during the shutdown.

He said many of them are now leaning on resources such as those provided by the Anne Arundel County Food Bank to feed themselves and their families, and the food bank is having trouble keeping up.

“There are problems with having enough food, because now there’s an increased volume. There’s problems with transportation to get the food to the food bank — they don’t have enough vehicles," he said. "We’re working on all of that.”

He said the county Department of Social Services is trying to help the food bank meet the increased demand.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city is being lenient with residents who can't pay water bills and property taxes. She said officials have also asked banks to keep late payments from affecting federal workers' credit reports. 

"We know that this is trying times," Pugh said. "Everything from, you know, 'I have a parking ticket,' to, you know, 'I'm a federal worker, I can't afford to pay that, I can't pay my property tax, I can't pay my water bill, I can't pay my BG&E bill,' we're hearing it all across the city, and I'm sure all of us are pretty much hearing the same thing, and that's why we're standing here today, but more importantly, why we're trying to work on our solutions in our own jurisdictions, as well." 

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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