Govt. shutdown goes into effect

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

An untold number of local federal employees were sent home on unpaid leave Tuesday as a congressional failure to come to a budget agreement triggered a government shutdown.

While the ultimate blame for the dysfunction between the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House generally falls along the lines of partisanship, local residents of a city employed largely by the federal government are bracing for the latest economic hit in a year laden with fiscal uncertainty associated with sequestration and furloughs.

Members of the House passed a bill Sept. 28 to keep government open, delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and maintain pay for the armed services. A majority of the Senate (in a vote along party lines) accused the House Republicans of “irrationality” and voted for a bill with no restrictions that keeps ACA in effect, perpetuating the stalemate and resulting in the shutdown.

On Tuesday morning the Senate also rejected a formal request by the House to negotiate a stopgap spending bill that would end the impasse.

The implementation of a shutdown simply denies passage of appropriations to federal agencies, excluding those services identified as “essential” (including those related to weather, medical, postal, armed forces, air-traffic and correctional).

The only official estimates on impact to the local work force are the 300 Naval Air Weapons Station whose duties are classified as unessential.

Public Affairs Officer Peggy Shoaf said that Morale, Welfare and Recreation services will remain open with adjusted hours. The Child Development Centers, Navy Exchange and Branch Health Clinic will also remain open.

However, closure of the pass and ID office is expected to yield delays at the front gate, which is where one-day visitor badges will now be issued.

The commissary will be closed starting today.

All petroglyph tours are canceled until further notice.

Most NAWC employees went to work on Tuesday unimpeded. The loss of support services is expected to slow work, though at this point definitive impacts are speculative.

Story First Published: 2013-10-01