Thousands would be affected locally by shutdown

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A federal shutdown might not stop essential services such as mail delivery or national defense, but it likely will have an effect on thousands of local federal employees.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management advised employees Tuesday that if a federal appropriations bill or further continuing resolution wasn't approved by 12:01 a.m. Saturday, employees will be placed in temporary nonduty, nonpay status.

Others in "excepted" essential positions -- such as national security -- will continue to work, and be paid once a new appropriation or continuing resolution is passed.

The impact is likely to be felt in Augusta-Richmond County, where roughly 10 percent of the civilian labor force -- 8,941 workers -- are federal employees.

Many more work for businesses that contract with the federal government to provide services at Fort Gordon or Savannah River Site.

Ralph Angelo, the president of the Augusta chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, recalled the shutdowns in 1995, which occurred while he was employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs and lasted several weeks.

"The first thing the National Park Service does is close the Washington Monument," Angelo said. "Nothing's worse than a group of angry tourists who can't get to the Washington Monument."

A shutdown now could close another national park -- Fort Sumter -- which is supposed to observe the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War on Tuesday.

Angelo speculated that Democrats and Republicans would work through the weekend to ensure the shutdown, if it occurs, is brief.

"Will it go on for 30 days? Never," he said.

But the Georgia Department of Labor is developing contingency plans to assist laid-off federal civilian workers. About 102,400 Georgians work for the federal government, including 43,000 with the Department of Defense, Labor spokesman Sam Hall said.

Workers already receiving benefits would continue to receive them, and the labor department has considered bringing additional personnel to staff its career centers if the need arises, Hall said.

Because the state doesn't have documentation of federal wages, laid-off workers would have to bring proof of federal employment and income and check the department's Web site for updates, Hall said.

At Fort Gordon, more than 15,000 active-duty personnel would continue to work but would not be paid for their time until the shutdown ends.

Base spokesman Buz Yarnell referred questions to the Office of Personnel Management Web site and said he might make a statement available later.

At Savannah River Site, there are more than 400 federal Department of Energy workers and nearly 13,000 contract personnel, all of whom are paid through the federal budgeting process.

"If there's no funding, it will impact everything at the site," DOE spokesman Jim Giusti said. "We're looking at contingency plans right now."

If a shutdown occurs, all SRS federal and contract employees will report to work Monday unless directed otherwise by management, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a memo provided by Giusti.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which operates two hospital campuses in Augusta, is not expected to be affected by the shutdown. Patient appointments will not be canceled or delayed, although some services, such as the answering of consumer inquiries, hiring and training and fraud investigations might be suspended, the department said in a statement.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Thurmond Lake, is awaiting word of how operations at the lake might be affected. Though the corps wouldn't interrupt operation of J. Strom Thurmond Dam, which forms the lake, some public activity areas, such as campgrounds, might be closed.

"I know there are people planning to camp next week that really want to know," said Billy Birdwell, the public affairs specialist for the corps' Savannah District office.

Taxpayers will not see the April 18 deadline to file their federal income taxes extended, and the processing of electronic returns will not be interrupted. But refunds paid to taxpayers who file paper returns likely would be delayed, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman said.

Local agencies, such as the CSRA Area Agency on Aging, receive about 60 percent of their funds from the federal government by way of the Georgia Department of Human Services.

A short shutdown likely would have little effect on the agency's monthly provision of 10,134 meals and other services, such as in-home personal care, although a longer interruption might, Assistant Director Mack Shealy said.

"The state provides the funds to us, so it would be a matter of how long it would impact the state getting its funding," Shealy said.

The area's elected congressmen posted videos on YouTube of their remarks in Congress about the budget impasse and potential for a shutdown.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., said Democrats wanted "to shut down the federal government for their own political purposes."

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., offered, "We can cater to political extremes, or we can work together to resolve pressing issues."

Direct impact

How government services would or wouldn't be affected if there's a partial shutdown:

BENEFIT PAYMENTS: Social Security payments would continue, and applications would still be processed. Unemployment benefits would still go out. Medicare would still pay claims for recipients, but payments to doctors and hospitals could be delayed if the shutdown were prolonged.

MAIL: Deliveries as usual.

RECREATION: National parks would be gated. The National Zoo and Smithsonian in Washington, too.

TAXES AND LOANS: The IRS would not process paper returns, but the filing deadline would remain April 18. Tax audits would be suspended. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, would stop that work. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.

AIR TRAVEL: Air traffic controllers and federal inspectors will stay on the job.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: The State Department would continue to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in need. But other services, such as issuing travel visas and passports, could be delayed or stop.

MILITARY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION: Pay for U.S. troops would be delayed, and some civilian Defense Department employees would be furloughed. Military operations in the Middle East and earthquake assistance to Japan would not be interrupted. All 116 federal prisons would remain open, and criminal litigation would proceed.

HEALTH CARE: Medical research at the National Institutes of Health would be disrupted, though patients would continue to receive care. The Centers for Disease Control would respond to an outbreak.

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bclicious
728
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bclicious 04/08/11 - 03:40 am
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This is all just a bunch of

This is all just a bunch of hype. If the government shuts down for a few days or even a week, it will not be the end of the world!

Medusa
0
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Medusa 04/08/11 - 06:05 am
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Just more postering by the

Just more postering by the politicians. Don't worry, go on about your business; there will be a last hour compromise. Both sides will then look for a camera and tell us how they didn't give in. Same old game.

seenitB4
90715
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seenitB4 04/08/11 - 06:54 am
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Take the tvs out of the room.

Take the tvs out of the room.

pointstoponder
297
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pointstoponder 04/08/11 - 07:20 am
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Stop paying the politicians

Stop paying the politicians and aids. Then it will get interesting.

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 07:30 am
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So they shut down national

So they shut down national parks to make the people feel like they are suffering. Why not just open the gates and do away with the park service? People swim, camp and boat taking responsibility for their own safety. What a novel concept.

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 07:32 am
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Too bad they don't shut down

Too bad they don't shut down Richmond County government at the same time. The county would be better off.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/08/11 - 07:50 am
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In the AJC today......& what

In the AJC today......& what a novel idea.....

Let the illegals take the Government jobs....they will work cheaper-faster-& won't bellyache about everything. WOW---soo if our gov. shuts down.....we might have to fill in ....LOL Hahahah

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 07:55 am
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SeenitB4, I say let's all

SeenitB4, I say let's all volunteer and take a job of some kind to help the government out. I want to be a border patrol officer for a few days. After I've worked the border for awhile illegals will be very careful about sneaking across from then on. They certainly won't do it during another gov't shutdown.

Tisk tisk what is this world coming to
0
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0
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Oh the horror of it all.

Oh the horror of it all. Just to think the government will not be doing anything. Who knows... We might like it better that way. One question. Will the IRS be closed down too? Hmmm.... This has real possibilities that could be positive for we the people!

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 07:59 am
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We really should all pitch

We really should all pitch in. Let Corgimom answer the goverment complaint line. She would talk to them until they wanted to hang up. :)

seenitB4
90715
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seenitB4 04/08/11 - 08:04 am
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Great idea River.....I think

Great idea River.....I think I will take a park service job......fresh air-nature-animals--paddle boats---like you said adults should be able to
take care w/o beeeg gov. watching over.
Amazing to me that we have so much in this country to enjoy & few really appreciate the freedoms we have here.....one day "maybe" we will get our heads out of the sand. Destin beach is beautiful this time of year...yaknow. :)

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/08/11 - 08:06 am
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GREAT job for

GREAT job for corgi........now how about ksl?

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 04/08/11 - 11:29 am
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Don't you worry one bit. Gas

Don't you worry one bit. Gas will still cost just as much. You will still be able to pay federal tax on gas. So, everyone, just chill out.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
2
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 02:47 pm
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It's easy for all of you to

It's easy for all of you to make light of this when you aren't a military family whose facing the possibly of not receiving a paycheck among other things...

If Congress would forfeit their pay I might be able to be a little more behind this but no dice. You can't tell your government employees they have to suffer while you still collect your 6-figure paychecks >:(

TheWorldisRound
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TheWorldisRound 04/08/11 - 02:54 pm
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JesusSaves again!! Honestly,

JesusSaves again!!

Honestly, I have been to busy celebrating the 150 anniversary of Northern Aggression and trying to stop interracial dating.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/04/08/2011-04-08_interraci...

I hope the Yankees in town understand that the next time I won't them into traffic while driving.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 03:06 pm
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Boo hoo hoo, if were you, I'd

Boo hoo hoo, if were you, I'd be crying about that money given to those who got your money and didn't pay their taxes.

The Top 7 Corporate Tax Evaders:

1.2 billion of Wal-Mart Stores' taxes are international.

None of ExxonMobil's income taxes were paid in the U.S. In 2008 the company's income tax bill was $36 billion. N

CheChevron paid $19 billion income tax in 2008. Of this year's taxes, just $200 million were paid in the U.S. one o

GE Capital, keeps the overall tax bill so low. Over the last two years, GE Capital has displayed an uncanny ability to lose lots of money in the U.S. and make lots of money overseas, where tax rates are lower

Sales: $152 billion

ConocoPhillips paid $13 billion in taxes in 2008.

Sales: $123 billion

AT&T's executive officers are eligible to bill the company $14,000 a year for their own income tax preparations.

Bank of America

Sales: $120 billion

Tax rate: N/A

How did Bank of America not pay any taxes on $4.4 billion in income? Because of deductions like $860 million in tax-exempt income

http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/01/ge-exxon-walmart-business-washington-co...

The left cares while the right laments.

WoodyKaminer
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WoodyKaminer 04/08/11 - 03:49 pm
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It seems to me that all the

It seems to me that all the crap theyre going to take away, should be taken anyway. Make the feds clean their own toilets, and buy their own lunch. So what if they stop giving planned parenthood money. If you wanna go there, pay for it yourself. I dont see anything wrong with it. If they cut all the fat off the steak, there would still be plenty of meat for all to eat.

TheWorldisRound
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TheWorldisRound 04/08/11 - 03:52 pm
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Yes WoodyKaminer, make

Yes WoodyKaminer, make corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 04:28 pm
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Let's see corporations are

Let's see corporations are comprised of individual shareholders who pay taxes on profits they receive. Yet, the corporations also pay taxes directy on the profits prior to the shareholders getting anything. Oh, unless you are GE run by Jeff Immelt, Obama's advisor. They do everything off shore.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 04:49 pm
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If there's a shutdown, John

If there's a shutdown, John Boehner's $223,500 salary means he would still make $612 a day... for not working. Which is pretty awesome work (non-work) if you can get it.

How much do you make for not working? I'd always assumed the answer was "zero", based on my own experience... but apparently, that's NOT the case for politicians.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 05:17 pm
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Why doesn't the news media

Why doesn't the news media report the TRUTH about what the Republicans'a are doing? They are waging a assault on the Poor & Middle Class and the ONLY programs they are wanting to cut are the programs that affect the most vulnerable in this country. Heating Assistance for the Poor, Planned Parenthood, Head Start just to name a few of the programs they are wanting to cut. Why don't they cut all of the Healthcare Benefits that they all receive and that even 1 Term Senators receive for LIFE? Cut the programs they hand out to these huge corporations. Collect the taxes from GE, who they have given breaks too. Stop attacking the Poor/Middle Class!!! The GOP will dig their own political graves if they cause this shutdown.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 04/08/11 - 05:30 pm
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 06:21 pm
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Last night, on AC360º, Paul

Last night, on AC360º, Paul Begala, David Bergen, and Dana Loesch, a Tea Party advocate, were discussing the looming government shut down which would seriously impact millions of Americans. Throughout the entire discussion, Ms. Loesch was giggling, as if this was some kind of adolescent game. Her childish behavior was even noted by David Bergen, who routinely ignores these kinds of antics. Ms. Loesch's attitude seems to be indicative of the Tea Party and many Republicans who are downright gleeful that they have been able to orchestrate a government shut down by using the well-known wedge issue of abortion. Knowing that it would make the bill totally unacceptable to Democrats in Congress and the President, they attached a rider eliminating subsidies for Planned Parenthood. Most Planned Parenthood facilities are not certified surgical centers and, therefore, cannot provide abortions. What Planned Parenthood does do is provide numerous invaluable services to young women, many of which are unrelated to reproductive health. It's attack on Planned Parenthood is just the opening salvo on Roe vs Wade and a woman's right to choose in this country. The anti-women agenda in the Tea Party and Congressional Republicans is stunning and Ms. Loesch should find something else to giggle about.

If this and other controversial riders had not been attached to the budget bill, we would not be looking at a government shutdown that will create a hardship for millions of Americans. The Republicans and Tea Partyers in the House have proved once and for all that they're more interested in promoting their extreme right-wing ideology than cutting spending or helping middle class and low-income families.

The only thing the GOP believes in is regaining political power. Everything they do is geared toward that goal, regardless of how it might impact the country. They have proven that time and again over the last 25 months.

This is NOT a theocracy. It is a secular representative democracy. What the GOP wants to do is take rights away from half the population because of a "belief" which they share. They could not care less about cutting spending. This is about using the deficit crisis as leverage to promote their mid-19th century ideology.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 06:31 pm
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For all of you theocratic,

For all of you theocratic, right-wing religious fanatics out there who believe first trimester abortions kill "babies", PLANNED PARENTHOOD (PP) does not provide abortions. In fact, its services help prevent unwanted pregnancies, therefore it actually reduces the need for abortions. But even that is just a small part of what PP does for women's health. Like it or not, PP provides numerous services which meet specific needs of women who are poor or in low-income families. It is a very small part of what makes the United States a compassionate society that doesn't simply discard people because they're not rich or well-connected. Just because you aren't poor and you don't need the kinds of services provided by PP doesn't mean it shouldn't exist. It has helped millions of women in this country and saved millions of lives since it began its work.

The Republican Party has attached a rider to the House budget bill that would eliminate PLANNED PARENTHOOD. The reason they have put this rider on the bill is NOT to cut spending. PLANNED PARENTHOOD doesn't get that much money from the government. They put this rider on the bill because they knew it would make the bill unacceptable to Democrats and the President. They also attached another unacceptable rider that would eliminate the EPA's ability to test the air we breathe. They knew these riders would result in an impasse that would lead to a government shut down. If they had actually wanted to avoid a shut down, none of these riders would have been added to the bill.

The behavior of the Republicans and the Tea Party members of Congress during this episode has been despicable and grotesquely dishonest. It proves that the GOP cares more about its rigid ideology than it does for our troops, not to mention our poorest citizens.

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
2
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JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/08/11 - 07:38 pm
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Fun fact: Planned Parenthood

Fun fact: Planned Parenthood provides abortion services at some (not all) of their clinics. ALL of the services related to aborting a fetus are PRIVATELY FUNDED. Zero federal dollars go toward funding abortions. One hundred percent of the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives goes toward health services for women, including cancer screenings. Not a single dime goes toward funding abortions.

So, using the GOP's logic of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood due to abortion services, I would like to propose censuring and recalling all current GOP congressmen and women due to Mark Foley's congressional page incident from years ago. He was a Republican too, so they're all responsible and should resign immediately or face the consequences!

I expect immediate action and agreement from all involved, as I am using their logic and reasoning so there's no need for debate or discussion. Makes sense, doesn't it Mr. Boehner?

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 10:24 pm
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Ahhhh, this shutdown is

Ahhhh, this shutdown is sweet. I feel like I'm personally telling those with their hands out, NO, YOU ARE NOT GETTING ANYTHING. It's like stepping on bugs and smearing them into the concrete until you can't recognize what they are.

kissofdeath
423
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kissofdeath 04/08/11 - 10:33 pm
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A shutdown will boost

A shutdown will boost President Obama's approval rating.

Riverman1
86856
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Riverman1 04/08/11 - 10:41 pm
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Dang, they reached an

Dang, they reached an agreement. I was looking forward to a shutdown.

TrulyWorried
15362
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TrulyWorried 04/08/11 - 10:59 pm
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No shutdown - they actually

No shutdown - they actually agreed in DC = watch news!!

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