According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, West Virginia is home to roughly 18,000 federal employees. 

In a release Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., criticized the continued shutdown and highlighted how its impacting West Virginians. 

“I have always said we should never shutdown the government and governing this way is embarrassing for both Democrats and Republicans," Manchin said. "I am proud that many of these employees will continue to come to work without pay to make sure that our nation remains safe and secure, but I am very concerned that they will be missing critical paychecks – something that is always difficult, but particularly so during the holidays."

He said he's committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to find a solution to reopen the federal government, as well as funding border security to keep Americans safe.

Specifically, Manchin said the shutdown impacts West Virginia workers in the following way:

• Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, FBI: The FBI’s largest division is located in Clarksburg and employs more than 2,500 federal workers, making it a substantial employer in central West Virginia. As a result of the shutdown, around two-thirds of these employees will be forced to work without pay, while the rest will be furloughed, or temporarily laid off, for the duration of the shutdown. 

• Bureau of Fiscal Service, Dept. of Treasury: The Department of Treasury employs around 2,200 employees in Parkersburg. However, because a large number of employees are paid through a revolving fund separate from annual appropriations, almost 80 percent of employees in the Bureau are exempt from the shutdown. Those that are deemed essential may have to work without pay until the shutdown ends, however.

• Bureau of Prisons, Dept. of Justice: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has around 1,000 employees at seven federal correctional institutions, penitentiaries, and prison camps around the state, making it one of the largest federal employers in West Virginia. Nearly all of these staff, and particularly those working directly at federal prisons, are considered essential and will work without pay through the duration of the shutdown.

• Coast Guard, Dept. of Homeland Security: The Coast Guard has more than 400 employees at three facilities located in West Virginia, the Vessel Documentation Center in Falling Waters and the Operations Systems Center and National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, making it a significant employer in the Eastern Panhandle. Both the Vessel Documentation Center and the Operations Center have closed, and all civilian employees in the state are furloughed without pay for the duration of the shutdown. Active duty personnel report for duty as usual, but are not be paid.

• Customs & Border Patrol Advanced Training Center, Dept. of Homeland Security: CBP operates its Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry, where hundreds of federal employees and contractors train more than 8,000 border agents each year. DHS does not deem training to be an essential activity during a shutdown, so DHS requires the Advanced Training Center to close when its students are able to be relocated.

• Independent Verification & Validation Center (IV&V), NASA: NASA employs around 200 full-time federal workers and contractors at the IV&V Center in Fairmont. All but one of the federal workers will be furloughed during the shutdown. Federal contractors may continue to work if they have already received contracts and their work does not require supervision from federal employees.

• Green Bank Observatory, National Science Foundation (NSF): The Green Bank Observatory is a critical employer in Pocahontas County. While it is operated by the National Science Foundation, which is closed during the shutdown, Green Bank’s funding is provided by both NSF and other sources, so it will remain open at this time. 

• Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Dept. of Transportation: The FAA employs around 120 people throughout the state. Of these, around 20 percent have been furloughed, while some others are paid through funds not impacted by annual appropriations. Air Traffic Controllers, who keep our skies and airports safe from accidents and disasters, will work without pay.

• Federal Courts: Federal courts in West Virginia have enough funding through court fee balances and other funds to operate until next week before they will be impacted by the shutdown. While many staff will continue to work without pay to ensure the judiciary and law enforcement continues, some employees will likely be furloughed.

• National Parks and Forests: West Virginia has a number of National Parks and Forests throughout the state. These national recreation areas will remain open for visitors, but services will not be available, and non-essential employees will be furloughed. National Parks and Refuges such as the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the New River Gorge National River are operated by the National Parks Service within the Department of the Interior.

National forests such as the Monongahela National Forest and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are operated by the U.S. Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture, which also operates the Wood Education and Research Center in Princeton and a Research Center in Morgantown. Finally, wildlife refuges such as the Canaan Valley and Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuges are operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which also operates its National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown. 

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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