East TN prepares for looming government shutdown

The United States government could shut down in just seven days if politicians in Washington don't agree on a budget and it's a situation that could have a profound impact right here in East Tennessee.

Experts like Maryville College Professor Mark O'Gorman say it's all the result of a political showdown. Democrats want to hold onto President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect October 1.

While Republicans want to do away with the measure and reel in spending.

He said if the parties do not agree on a spending plan by October 1 at midnight, which is the end of the federal fiscal year, some government workers' salaries could be affected.

"Military members would be able to go to work, however I think what would happen is that their paychecks might not be cut until the shutdown ends," he said. "Civilian employees might be impacted the same way, expected to work but the paychecks might stop."

Governor Bill Haslam said a shutdown would impact the way Tennessee operates.

The last government shut down occurred in 1995 and 1996. At the time, government workers across the country were left without paychecks and many services were interrupted.

USA Today: Most Government Workers Would Work Through Shutdown

Governor Bill Haslam said another shut down could even impact operations in Tennessee.

"We receive quite a bit of federal funding from our military department to mental health and education issues and all down the line and if there is a government shutdown in October, we would obviously feel that," he said.

All three East Tennessee congressmen support a bill that passed by the House last week, which would keep the government running through the end of the year.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-TN, said the house has already done its part.

"The House has passed a bill to fund government operation as through the end of the year," he said. "As long as the Senate does its job, the government won't shut down. A government shutdown would be detrimental to the economy."

Rep. Jimmy Duncan, R-TN, also echoed Roe's feelings that the Senate needs to do something.

"The Senate has not acted at all and the only one not compromising at the moment is the President," he said. "He is not some sort of entity that is above compromise."

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, said he would vote in approval of the measure once it comes up in his chamber. But, O'Gorman said all three men might not get their way. The house bill also calls for the defunding of Affordable Care Act, something Democrats in the Senate likely will not vote in favor of.

"[In] the Democrat controlled Senate, there's a very small chance they could agree with that," he said.

Congress Chuck Fleischmann said he is open to alternatives if the House bill falls in the Senate. However, he said any measure would have to have the support of his constituents.

More Information : Read the House bill here

"When we see something come back, whether that's in the form of some type of a change, what I will do is read the bill, listen to my constituents, keep my phone lines open and react the way my constituents want me to," he said.

O'Gorman said he believes congress will come very close to the October 1 deadline.

If the federal government shuts down you would still get your mail and have to pay your taxes. However, non-essential jobs would be put on hold.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, could not be reached for this report.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment