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CONGRESSMAN BISHOP STATEMENT REGARDING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

By   /   October 2, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop (GA-02) released a statement regarding the failure of Congress to pass a budget or ‘continuing resolution’ to fund the government and keep services open for all Americans:

“As you may have heard, rather than seek a bipartisan consensus, a small minority in the United States Congress resorted to brinksmanship at the eleventh hour in order to achieve their goals, forcing the government to shutdown. Frankly, I do not believe the Founders of our great nation intended for Congress to shun its constitutional and moral responsibility to keep the government operating for all Americans. It’s no wonder that the American people are mighty fed up.

“This partisan bickering is threatening the livelihoods of millions of Americans, rattling the stock market, threatening investments, and potentially disrupting our long-term economic recovery. Locally, many vital services that veterans, seniors, families, small business, and our communities rely on for healthcare, education, and economic development will be delayed. Federal offices have closed and many hard-working Americans are going unpaid.

“Everyday Americans employed by the Federal Government will be met with hardship at work and at home. Rent, taxes, mortgages, children’s tuition, food, and travel all will be impacted as paychecks are delayed. As hundreds of thousands of employees wait for their pay, local economies and communities will feel the brunt of Congress’ failure to pass a funding bill.

“Recalling the lessons we learned after the last government shutdown in 1995-1996, I remember first-hand how it affected Middle and Southwest Georgia. It didn’t make sense then and it surely doesn’t make sense now. I remain hopeful that we can stop this manufactured crisis and end this Republican government shutdown for the good of the American people.”

As a guide on affected government programs, please note the designations below on what services will be affected during this government shutdown:

U.S. Military:
Nearly 1.4 million active duty military personnel deployed at home and overseas defending our nation’s interests will be paid for their work during the shutdown, but civilian employees are subject to furloughs.

Federal Workers:
Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees are immediately and indefinitely furloughed, and many Federal employees and contractors that continue to work will not be paid during the shutdown, including many at Fort Benning, the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, and Robins Air Force Base.

National Parks and Museums:
All national parks and federal wildlife refuges are closed for the duration of the shutdown, including the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and the Andersonville National Historic Site. About 9 million visitors were turned away from parks, museums, and monuments run by the National Park Service in the mid-1990s, the last time the government shut down temporarily.

Head Start:
19,000 children have been left without Head Start Services.

Housing:
Housing loans to low and middle income families in rural and urban communities are put on hold, as will start-up business loans for farmers and ranchers.

Jobs and Small Business:
SBA will stop approving applications for small businesses to obtain loans and loan guarantees. In a typical month, SBA approves over $1 billion in loan assistance to small businesses. Army Corps of Engineers construction has stopped, hurting private companies, preventing job creation, and forcing closure or reduced hours for 2,500 Corps of Engineers Sites.

Veterans Services:
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue, though they may be delayed due to furloughs. Additionally, VA claim processor’s output could drop from 6500 to 4500 claims a day, decreasing the VA’s effectiveness of cutting into its claims backlog. Operators will continue to staff the crisis hotline and claims workers will still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits. Those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the Board will not issue any decisions during a shutdown.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security:
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory programs will not be affected for existing recipients, though providers’ payments to doctors and hospitals may be delayed. Processing of new applications and other administrative duties may be delayed due to furloughs.

Science:
Important government research into life-threatening diseases, environmental protection, and other areas would be halted. NASA will furlough almost all of its employees, but it will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space Station.

Mail:
Deliveries would continue as usual because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to operate.

Courts:
Federal courts will continue to operate normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown. If the shutdown continues, the judiciary will have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. Cases will continue to be heard. The U.S. Supreme Court also is scheduled to begin its new term on October 7. In previous government shutdowns, it continued to operate as normal.

For more information, please refer to the Congressional Research Service guide, “Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects.”

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