How would a government shutdown affect our area?

How would a government shutdown affect our area
How would a government shutdown affect our area
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 13:49:31-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Time is running out for Congress to keep the federal government from shutting down. The deadline to strike a deal is midnight.

How could the potential shutdown impact our area?

We're just hours away from what could be a temporary closure of the Apalachicola National Forest, the largest one in Florida. All national parks and forests would suspend operations, impacting local tourism this weekend.

WTXL has also learned employees from at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee have been given furlough guidance, though the FCI hasn’t returned our call for comment.

In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual budgets. 

One employee says the prison is already understaffed, so a government shut down could become a threat to the community.

The United States Postal Service and the Veterans Health Administration tells WTXL they'll both continue full operations, even during a government shutdown. That means local post offices will stay open, and so will the Tallahassee V.A. Health Care Clinic.

"If it does shut down, I think the shock of this -- and I think the reaction is going to be immediate," said Dr. Richard Murgo. "Once the blame is attributed -- and I would assume that the blame probably will go towards the Republican Party, considering they have the House, the Senate, and the executive branch -- they realize that they're getting the blame, I think that they'll back down and probably include DACA on this. They'll see the impact of this. "

The last time the federal government shut down was in 2013 and it lasted for 16 days. Non-essential departments and employees were furloughed, affecting nearly 800,000 workers across the country.

WTXL political contributor Dr. Richard Murgo says it took a toll on the nation's economy.

"Because it was long-term, it did have a significant effect. It started affecting people's salaries. They were not able to get paid," said Murgo. "People on Social Security will always get their money. That's considered consistent, but people just on normal salary working for the federal government will not get paid. People anticipating going to federal parks, monuments, things of that nature, will no longer be able to do so at that point, and it starts to build up."

Dr. Murgo mentioned DACA is one of the big issues keeping Congress from passing a budget. He says the program protecting undocumented children has been a key concern for Democrats.