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Illinois Lawmakers Warn of Impacts Government Shutdown Could Have for Residents

The federal government could soon be headed for a shutdown unless Democrats and Republicans can reach an agreement prior to a looming deadline.

A continuing resolution to fund the government would need to be passed by midnight on Oct. 1, or else it could trigger a shutdown of key government services.

In the past 25 years, there have been four shutdowns, which have lasted between two and 34 days.

One of the first things that could be impacted? Air travel, as air traffic controllers and TSA workers are employed by the federal government.

“Last time we had a shutdown, TSA workers and air traffic controllers, they didn’t get paid,” Rep. Mike Quigley said. “After a while, they stopped showing up. Flights were canceled. Aviation was snarled. It could have a big impact.”

Former President Donald Trump exacerbated concerns about a shutdown, encouraging conservatives who are not signing onto a budget compromise that could keep the government open. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pushed back on the idea of a shutdown, saying that it would only hurt Republicans in the eyes of Americans.

“The people who want to close the government only makes it weaker,” he said. “Why would they want to stop paying the troops, or stop paying the border agents, the Coast Guard?”

Sen. Dick Durbin says that the Democratic-controlled Senate is ready to play ball on a compromise, but expressed concerns that McCarthy’s caucus in the House may torpedo legislation, leading to a shutdown.

“It depends on McCarthy,” he said. “He runs the risk of being challenged by his own caucus if he doesn’t (shut government down).”

As for the impact a shutdown could have on Americans, numbers published by the White House tell a startling tale. Estimates suggest that a shutdown would result in at least 800 fewer Customs and Border Protection agents on staff. At least 65,000 children would lose access to government-supported health care. Food inspections would be delayed, and the Small Business Administration would be unable to issue new loans.

Rep. Danny Davis, who represents Illinois’ 7th District, says that Republican proposals to slash up to 27% from non-defense spending programs are dead on arrival in the House, and that lawmakers need to search for other solutions.

“I’m not prepared to cut where there is no room to cut,” he said. “If all you do is cut, cut, cut, all you get is blood, blood, blood.”

Other agencies could be impacted as well, as non-essential workers would immediately be furloughed in the event of a shutdown. According to estimates, there could be as many as four million non-essential federal employees that would be put out of work by a shutdown, and that could have dire consequences for those seeking services related to Social Security and more.

“You’re going to get your Social Security check, but if you have any questions, nobody’s going to answer the call,” Quigley said. “Same is true with veterans’ benefits. You can get a passport renewed, but if there’s an issue you need to talk about, nobody’s there.”

Source : 5 Chicago