More than 800,000 federal employees were forced off the job Tuesday as Congress plunged the nation into a government shutdown, all because Republicans and Democrats continue to wrangle over Obamacare and the spending plan for the new fiscal year.
That Washington conflict has meant temporary job loss here at home.
All county Farm Services Agency (FSA) offices in the Creston News Advertiser area are closed. Dan Wells, FSA executive director in Adair County, said a total of six employees were furloughed (temporarily laid off without pay) in his office.
“There is nothing we can do about it,” Wells said. “All we can do is wait until a bill is passed.”
Also, Wayde Ross, district conservationist for National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Creston, was notified Tuesday by email he and five other employees in his office are furloughed until the conflict in Washington is resolved.
“Due to the lapse in budget funding the (NRCS) office is closed and will not reopen until the day after the budget is passed and the president says he will sign it,” Ross said. “We are hopeful the budget will get worked out so we can can get back to serving the people again.”
Corning National Guard
Sgt. William Dooley with Iowa Army National Guard said this morning the shutdown will affect about 70 soldiers who report to the Corning National Guard armory.
Dooley said soldiers are required to complete one weekend drill each month. Soldiers are compensated for the drill weekend.
“However, we were forced to cancel this weekend’s four-day drill,” Dooley said, “essentially because we have no money to pay them.”
Dooley said all weekend drills are cancelled “until this all gets sorted out.”
Laura Hartman, regional assistant for Congressman Tom Latham, said she is currently furloughed and Latham’s office will be closed until the budget is passed. However, Hartman doesn’t feel the government shutdown will last long.
“I’m not terribly worried,” Hartman said. “I don’t think this will last very long. That’s my gut feeling. This is not something either side of the aisle wants to go on very long.”
The last time the government had a shutdown was in 1995 under the Clinton administration. The shutdown lasted 21 days. There have been 17 government shutdowns or “spending gaps” in the United States since 1976.
Not affected by shutdown
Alan Carr, park ranger at Green Valley Park, confirmed his staff was not furloughed because they are state funded.
“It’s business as usual for us,” Carr said.
Other federal offices in Creston not immediately impacted include: Social Security, U.S. Postal Service, county or city government. However, the shutdown will delay Social Security payments, passport and visa applications.
Creston City Administrator Mike Taylor said there may be delays in federally-funded grants because of the shutdown, but otherwise the city won’t notice much.
“It hurts the economy in general,” he said. “But, it won’t have much of an impact on us directly.”