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Government Shutdown Would Have Local Effect

October 1, 2013

Both the U.S. Postal Service and Baldhill Dam will remain open, and social security and military checks would continue being sent out if the U.S. Government is closed today due to no agreement being reached between the U.S. House and Senate.
Local U.S. Government employees who could be furloughed without a budget deal are U.S. Department of Agriculture employees, the National Fish and Wildlife Service and full-time National Guard employees.
Hours before a threatened government shutdown at midnight Monday, the Senate had the next move on must-do budget legislation that has fueled a bitter congressional dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
But the Senate isn't expected to ride to the rescue, at least not immediately. When it convened at midday, the Democratic-led chamber was expected to reject the latest effort from House Republicans to use a normally routine measure to attack "Obamacare."
If no compromise was be reached by midnight, today Americans would soon see the impact of a government shutdown. National parks would close. Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays.
About 800,000 federal workers would be forced off the job without pay. Some critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.
David Shea, executive director of the Barnes County U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, said Monday if a deal is not worked out, he and other Barnes County USDA employees would “probably be sent home until we get a call to come back. We would not be protected,” as would the USPS.
Shea was not optimistic about a late compromise Monday. “In most years with a threatened shutdowns I've heard rumblings (of a potential deal). This time I'm not hearing any rumblings of anything going on.”
Rich Schueneman, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baldhill Dam facility, said Monday, “We would continue to staff at minimal levels, operating dams and service projects. We are considered excepted. You have to be able to continue controlling the water for safety and security.”
Kurt Eversman, who runs the Valley City National Fish Hatchery, said “If a furlough takes place, one person would be on call – myself, and I would not supposed to be doing anything. But it would be hard to do nothing when so much is invested here. We'll ensure muskies get into the water. If I'm a volunteer for that, I'm a volunteer. As far as the hatchery is concerned, it will be business as usual.”
Major Anna Wittrock, full-time officer in charge of the National Guard in Valley City, said Monday, “Our technicians would go on furlough, and it would impact our weekend drills.”
Wittrock said the Valley City Unit had a training weekend this past weekend, but other North Dakota National Guard units are scheduled for training weekends later this month, and the training could be disrupted without a budget deal.
Also, said Wittrock, if Congressional disagreement drags on, it could affect future drills in Valley City. “We'll just have to play it by ear,” she said.
Some critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.
A leading Senate GOP moderate called on her fellow Republicans to back down.
"I disagree with the strategy of linking Obamacare with the continuing functioning of government ― a strategy that cannot possibly work," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
McCarthy wouldn't say what changes Republicans might make. He appeared to suggest that a very short-term measure might pass at the last minute, but GOP aides said that was unlikely.
Republicans argued that they had already made compromises; for instance, their latest measure would leave intact most parts of the health care law that have taken effect, including requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and to let families' plans cover children up to age 26. They also would allow insurers to deny contraception coverage based on religious or moral objections.
Tea party lawmakers in the House ― egged on by Cruz ― forced GOP leaders to abandon an earlier plan to deliver a "clean" stopgap spending bill to the Senate and move the fight to another must-do measure looming in mid-October: a bill to increase the government's borrowing cap to avert a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations.

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