Carrie Sheridan expresses her frustration during an emergency town hall meeting at Francis C. Hammond Middle School. (Astrid Riecken/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

The town hall meeting at Francis C. Hammond Middle School on Seminary Road was convened by Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) for the purpose of “educating and preparing our federal workforce” for a shutdown. The event, which drew more than 200 attendees and a horde of reporters, was thrown together in a day.

“We called this on an emergency basis because I think we have an emergency,” Moran said, predicting that “there very well may be a shutdown of some time” that would lead to the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, and 100,000 from the Washington area.

As the possibility of a shutdown has become clearer, federal employees have eagerly sought answers: Will they work during a shutdown? Who will decide? Will they receive back pay if they do work? Northern Virginia is also home to a huge number of government contractors, who have their own set of worries.

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