Archive for Monday, September 30, 2013

State preparing for possible federal government shutdown

September 30, 2013, 9:09 a.m. Updated September 30, 2013, 10:51 a.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback today said he hoped Republicans and Democrats in Washington could reach a deal and avoid a federal government shutdown.

Asked what he thought of the prospects of a shutdown, Brownback, a Republican, told the Lawrence Journal-World, "I really hope it doesn't happen. I don't think it will happen and I hope both sides will negotiate to get a down payment on our fiscal problems."

State agencies were reviewing what impact a federal government shutdown would have, according to the governor's office.

On Friday, Brownback spokeswoman Sara Belfry said, "The Governor has directed each state agency to look at how a federal government shutdown would affect government services and is working hard to minimize the effects of the uncertainty in Washington on Kansans."

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats were at odds over a bill to continue funding government.

The Republican-led House has approved legislation to fund government but delay key parts of the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic-led Senate has said it won't go for the ACA delay.

Brownback, a former U.S. senator, and vocal opponent of the ACA, declined to weigh in on the battle in Washington over the health reform law.

"That's their problem. I've got my set of problems. I've got my own," he said.

Budget legislation must be passed by midnight to avoid a partial shutdown of government.

A shutdown would force about 800,000 federals workers to take off without pay.

Some critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.

Below is a list of local offices and agencies how they stand to be affected by a government shutdown:

Clinton Reservoir: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the dam, as well as some of the campgrounds around the lake and a hiking trail. Sue Gehrt, project manager at the reservoir, said eight of the 10 federal employees at the lake would immediately be furloughed.

The state park that is operated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism would remain open, as would the city park below the dam.

Gehrt said there are three campgrounds operated by the Corps that would be closed. Campers there would have until Wednesday morning to leave. Those include the equestrian campground, Rock Haven; Bloomington East campground, which includes the Cedar Ridge and the Hickory and Walnut RV parks; and Woodridge, which offers primitive camping. Hiking trails and other parts of the lake area operated by the Corps of Engineers would also be closed.

Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Program: Both offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be closed and all 10 employees will be furloughed, district conservationist Amy Williams said. The office will not be able to process applications for farm programs or soil conservation programs until an appropriations bill is passed.

Benefits received through the state Department of Children and Families: “The Kansas Department for Children and Families has sufficient balances in its federal and state accounts to keep programs and services running for the next three weeks in our local offices,” said DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed. “If the federal government shutdown goes beyond that, we will need to reevaluate.” Lawrence’s DCF office will remain open and staffed as usual, and benefits will continue to go out.

Women, Infants and Children program: The nutrition assistance program for low-income women and children will continue. The Kansas Bureau of Family Health reported that the state has sufficient funds to keep the program running for about two weeks.

Haskell Indian Nations University: According to a Sept. 19 staff email from University President Michael Lewis, the school will continue operating as normal using certain unappropriated funds. The university is operated by a division of the Bureau of Indian Education, which is part of the Department of Interior.

Kansas University: Spokesman Jack Martin said the impact at KU would depend on how long a shutdown lasts, but there would likely not be any immediate impact. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the shutdown will not affect the distribution of Pell Grants or direct student loans, or the servicing of student loans. He also said research grants through the National Institutes of Health have already been distributed, but a lengthy shutdown could affect the availability of future grants.

Kansas State University Extension Service: The office will remain open. Only a small portion of its budget comes from USDA through K-State. The majority of their budget comes from state and county funds, said Bill Wood, agriculture director for the Lawrence office.

Lawrence Meals on Wheels: Delivery will not be affected by the shutdown, local officials said.


ssakcaj 4 years, 8 months ago

Regarding Haskell and their email regarding continued operation using certain "unappropriated funds," the following contradicts that statement:

The Antideficiency Act governs agency actions during a funding gap. Under the ADA and ubsequent rulings by the Attorney General, Federal agencies may not spend unappropriated funds unless otherwise authorized by law. Subject to certain exceptions, incurring salary obligations by permitting Federal employees to come to work would violate the ADA.

So I would be curious how exactly that is working...

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