Hours Left Before Government Shutdown
MIAMI (CBS4) – As the hours tick away towards a shutdown of the federal government, neither side is willing to give in and everyone from employees at Everglades National Park to South Floridians waiting for tax refunds stand to lose in the battle.
Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been negotiating for the past week and appear to be ready for a deal. Except for a disagreement over a few riders attached to the GOP proposed budget.
Specifically, the GOP-led House wants to strip funding for Planned Parenthood. The organization provides medical treatments for women including cancer screenings and other treatments.
Planned Parenthood has supported abortion, but federal funds can’t be used to pay for abortions based on long-standing federal law under the Hyde Amendment.
There was also disagreement over environmental issues, but the Planned Parenthood funding has been the major hurdle neither side will try to jump. Plus, neither side wants to look weak to their bases.
The GOP-led House passed a plan to pay the military, but also added extra cuts and even if approved, the parties will be at the same place in a week.
Republicans immediately turned around and began saying if the Democrats didn’t support the new bill, they were against the troops.
It’s a cynical ploy that’s been used by both parties, but this is the first time the troops have been brought up and used by one party against the other. It’s also that type of political posturing that has led the government to where it is today.
So what exactly would a government shutdown mean for South Floridians?
First, Social Security checks will more than likely still be mailed. So South Florida seniors on social security should not worry about the checks not coming.
Past that, a lot of the government funding issues like Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps are unknown during a shutdown.
The shutdown will also cause the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal employees. They will not be paid during the furlough, but will receive back pay.
“I’m concerned, just like everybody else, that we’ll all be out of a job,” said IRS employee Maria Lopez. “We have expenses and bill to pay, and we don’t know what’s happening.
Federal contractors will not be paid and will not receive any missed payments. Businesses who supply goods to the federal government, economists who rely on government data, and businesses near federal facilities all stand to lose millions as the government grinds to a halt.
If businesses who supply goods to the government contractors end up not being able to ship their goods, they will have to find somewhere to store them and that runs the risk of increasing costs and hurting job growth.
“My big concern is that if it actually does shut down, then we’re going to have a big crash in the stock market Monday morning,” said Richa Sadana.
CBSMiami.com has a story to analyze the economic impact on South Florida’s market, click here to read the story.
Essential services like air traffic control and national security agencies would be kept running at full capacity.
The U.S. Postal Services will remain open during normal business hours and the mail will still be delivered regardless of a shutdown.
But, the shutdown could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The 26-day shutdown in 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion in back salaries.
“It’s really a terrible situation with all the unemployment and everything,” said Esther Guzman. “It’s a terrible situation right now for everybody.”
Politically, it could be toxic to either side. Current polling has shown more in the general public will hold House Republicans to blame for a government shutdown.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion and people are suffering that don’t need to suffer and the politicians are still getting paid,” said Jill Harris.
But as anger towards Washington grows during a shutdown, no politician will likely be left unscathed.
“I think the risk is that there are no winners here,” said Fernand Amandi or Bendixen & Associates. “I think neither side stands to benefit from a government shutdown and that’s why you see the negotiations so intense heading up to the final hours.”