HAWAII ISLAND – Shutdown procedures are being executed across the United States tonight, after Congress failed to reach an agreement on a budget before Monday’s midnight deadline. It is the first federal shutdown in nearly two decades.
The Republican controlled House and the Democrat controlled Senate have been playing political hot potato with the budget. The House had tied a one year delay on the start of Obamacare into their version of the spending plan, which was unsuccessful in the Senate.
President Obama Makes a Statement, just a few hours before the shutdown
“This Is About Fairness” – Speaker John Boehner
Hawaii’s national parks and monuments will now have to close, which could deal a blow to local tourism. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the biggest visitor attraction on the island. According to an official summary of the contingency plan issued by the Department of the Interior:
|Services and programs that will remain operational.
Services and programs that will be ceased.
The United States Geological Survey will take a hit, but the active Kilauea volcano will still be monitored. From the USGS contingency plan fact sheet:
|Services and Programs that would remain operational:
Services and programs that would cease:
Elected lawmakers shared their thoughts.
“It is extremely unfortunate,” said Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui, “that Congress was unable to reach agreement on a federal spending plan because a federal shutdown will ultimately negatively impact all states and could derail economic recovery. Governor Abercrombie’s Administration, including his financial team, has put forth tremendous effort over the last three years to improve the State of Hawaii’s financial condition by making tough choices that have put us on the path towards a healthy economy. We will continue to examine the potential impact of the shutdown on our State.”
“Despite knowing that a government shutdown would hurt seniors, veterans, families, and dedicated public servants, as well as put our economic well-being at risk, House Republicans have stubbornly refused to agree to fund the federal government,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz via a media release. “Due to their recklessness, the United States government has been forced to shutdown. Every moment that the government remains closed endangers our economy and American families across the country. I will keep working to pass a Continuing Resolution that reopens the government.”
“A government shutdown will have wide-ranging impacts that will affect tens of thousands of Hawai‘i residents,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “Between myself, my team in Hawai‘i and Washington, and the resources I have made available on my website, I want to provide the best possible service to my constituents during what will certainly be a difficult time. I am continuing to work with my colleagues to push for a reasonable solution to avert the shutdown, but will stand prepared to assist the people of Hawai‘i in every way possible until a common-sense deal can be struck.”
Rep. Gabbard created a FAQ addressing the shutdown:
|Will I still receive my Social Security, veterans or other benefits?
If you do not already receive Social Security, Veterans disability and unemployment benefits could be delayed if the shutdown is prolonged. Medicare and Medicaid payment processing could also be delayed. In the last government shutdown, multiple veterans services were halted, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.
Will I still be able to send and receive mail?
Will I be able to get a passport?
The Department of State may also cease processing visas.
How will this affect my student loan applications?
Will this delay my small business or home loan?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) would 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.
I filed my taxes with a paper return. Will I see a delay?
Will I be able to get a gun permit?
I’m planning a trip to a national park. Would this impact my travel?
All seven National Park Service cites in Hawai‘i would likely close. This includes the USS Arizona, Haleakala, Volcanoes, Puuhonua O Honaunau, Puukohola Heiau, Kaloko Honokohau and Kalaupapa. Residents should be able to remain in Kalaupapa. In the 1995-1996 shutdown, the National Park Service closed all 368 sites.
I am planning a trip to Washington, DC. Will my trip be affected?
I have a mortgage loan through the Federal Housing Administration. Will my loan be impacted?
I am a Federal employee or active-duty member of the military. Will I still get paid? If yes, will my pay be delayed?
Members of the military would continue to report for work, and would also continue to be paid as usual.
If you are a federal employee, each federal department and agency will have its own shutdown plan because of the differences in funding and staffing. Please consult your employer for specific guidance.
I am a federal contractor using the e-verify system. Will e-verify still be accessible?
What government services will not be affected by a shutdown?