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'Preparing for the worst': NC lawmakers discuss possible shutdown

Posted September 30, 2013

— With the U.S. government just hours away from a possible shutdown, North Carolina lawmakers were in the middle of the fight Monday and shared their thoughts as the deadline loomed.

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., says she is "hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst."

"Let's make sure our government keeps getting funded. Let's make sure our military are still getting paid. Let's make sure our seniors are getting their Social Security checks. Those are the issues we need to make sure are maintained," she said.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said the public is rightfully "disgusted" by the partisan impasse in Congress.

"This is a divided government that cannot continue. Democrats have been trying to meet the Republicans halfway for a very long time," Butterfield said. "But the Republicans have said consistently that they don't want to negotiate. they don't want to compromise. They have an agenda which is extreme."

A shutdown, which would have far-reaching consequences for some and minimal impact on others, would be "crazy," added Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

"The notion that you would overthrow the normal legislative process and say, 'We're going to shut it down. We're going to shut it down unless we get our way,' that's really what's going on here," Price said.

Meanwhile, Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., said "keeping government open is important, but Obamacare is a job killer," adding that he would tell frustrated constituents that "this is the system of government our founding fathers put together."

A shutdown would cause an uneven impact across the face of government, inconveniencing millions.

Fort Bragg released a statement Monday, saying "the most immediate, and visible, impact of this potential shutdown will be the furlough of portions of Fort Bragg’s civilian workforce. There are some employees who will be excepted, generally those performing life, health and safety functions for the post."

North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden predicts law makers will find a resolution soon because they won't want to be blamed if a shutdown happens.

"I think the bigger impact for everyone is if this drags on and we don't get a change in the debt ceiling," Walden said.

Renee Ellmers NC lawmakers discuss possible shutdown

Many low-to-moderate-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays. Passport applications would also be delayed.

About 800,000 federal workers, many already reeling from the effect of automatic budget cuts, would be ordered to report to work Tuesday for about four hours – but only to carry out shutdown-related chores, such as changing office voicemail messages and completing time cards. Once they departed, they would be under orders not to do any government work.

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.

The last time the government shutdown, in 1996, Republicans suffered significant political damage, and then-President Bill Clinton's political fortunes were revived in the process.

Now, as then, Republicans control the House, and senior lawmakers insist even a shutdown isn't likely to threaten their majority in the 2014 elections.

"We may even gain seats," Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the party campaign committee, said recently.

For all the controversy about other matters, the legislation in question is a spending bill – and there was little if any disagreement about the spending-related issues.

The House and Senate have agreed to fix spending for a wide swath of federal programs at an annual level of $986 billion.

Without separate legislation to make further reductions, across-the-board cuts would automatically take effect early next year that would reduce the level to $967 billion.

66 Comments

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  • RDcallsit Oct 2, 8:34 a.m.

    Oh how we have fallen. Look up people for the great and terrible time is near.

  • Save It Oct 1, 4:33 p.m.

    "And thanks to the democrats not getting blamed for this failure of the Clinton Administration, we were eventually attacked on 9/11 because of the lack of attention to the information coming in about an attack, and the distraction over a cigar and some intern. A person"...

    "Who is Osama Bin Laden"? - Standing Defense Secretary Condolleeza Rice to GW on 9/11. The same Condi Rice who had her name removed from an oil tanker by GW weeks before her nomination so Americans wouldn't associate her name with big oil. The Clinton administration had been tracking Osama since the attack in Yeman. At least they knew who he was. Never mind there was a documentary about him after the Yeman attack. Condi must have been busy selling lobbying for oil.

  • Save It Oct 1, 4:27 p.m.

    " It will set a dangerous precedent to negotiate with these ideological political terrorists".

    Spot on. This cannot be allowed to succeed as a legitimate tactic. Many do not like No Child Left Behind - let's hold that law hostage during the debt ceiling and unless it's defunded or repealed we won't pay the nations debts.

    Let's make it more personal to the GOP. Let's hold subsidies hostage. No more subsidies to big business and agriculture or no Democrats will vote to increase the debt ceiling. Or how about Dems introduce a bill to increase the debt ceiling but only if wording is kept in place to increase background checks for private gun sales.

    See how nasty this can get quick. We can't hold national financial legislation hostage to points of individual ideological agendas. We start this and we're going down fast.

  • RevD Oct 1, 3:48 p.m.

    "We may even gain seats," Oregon Rep. Greg Walden

    You keep dreaming son. The American people don't cotton to bullies who ignore due demoratic process and flout the law. Obama is the democratically elected president of the United States, elected by a majority of the people. Twice. Amen. He ran on health care reform. His Affordable Healthcare Act was made law and and survived the test of the Supreme Court and was found to be constitutional and lawful by that court. It is officially the law of the land whether you like it or not. You are entitled to disagree as a part of a minority of American people, but there is a due process for changing laws, and that is by acquiring a majority of the votes for President, the House of Reps and the Senate in a democratic election where the people decide what they want. Our problem here is that the people decided who they wanted to lead them and the policies that came from their elected leader. Your side said -ell No! and since that time we have been

  • cactus95 Oct 1, 2:43 p.m.

    What don't people understand? If a person or family spends more than it brings in, then the bills go unpaid or bankruptcy is filed. Apparently some..correction...most of Americans haven't ben listening to what the GOP has been saying for the last almost five years. Figures don't lie!

  • bill15 Oct 1, 12:51 p.m.

    This is about Tea Party Republicans trying to undo a law passed years ago, a law that was upheld with the re-election of Obama and by the Supreme Court. It will set a dangerous precedent to negotiate with these ideological political terrorists.

  • ssi Oct 1, 12:39 p.m.

    "But the Republicans have said consistently that they don't want to negotiate. They don't want to compromise. They have an agenda which is extreme." - Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.

    For a minute there I thought he was talking about Harry Reid. Didn't he say he wasn't interested in talking with the House and wasn't going to compromise? And I guess "extreme" depends on which side of the fence you're standing on. It's always the other guy who has the extreme view.

    Boy, was I messed up. Geeez.

    Don't you just love our "leaders?"

  • KT6596 Oct 1, 10:34 a.m.

    When and if the Federal Government does re-open, keep the IRS closed for good!

  • junkmail5 Oct 1, 10:09 a.m.

    . (1) guns in bars - really?- IPayyouPay

    Yes... just like the MAJORITY of states in the US that have allowed this for YEARS without any problems.

    So why in the world would it be a problem here if it's not a problem anywhere else?

    You still can't drink when carrying, no matter where you are.

  • IPayYouPay Oct 1, 9:43 a.m.

    Thank God. It needs to shutdown. NC government is nothing an embarrassment to its people. (1) guns in bars - really?!?!?!?!?! (2) no discrimination on abortions based on gender - HEY - MEN CAN'T GET PREGNANT - MCCRORY, YOU AND YOUR COHORTS ARE NOTHING BUT AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THIS STATE.

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