Local impact of federal government shutdown

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OLYMPIA — As a former member of Congress, Gov. Jay Inslee had real concerns Monday night.

“I do want to take note about what increasingly looks like a shutdown of the federal government as of this hour,” Inslee said at a Monday afternoon news conference.  “Some 800,000 federal employees, including many here in Washington state, would be furloughed.  This would be a blow to our recovering economy here in our state.”

shutdownAt Joint Base Lewis-McChord, it’s estimated as many as 10,000 civilian workers would be immediately furloughed without pay.  Another 46,000 active-duty soldiers would still go to work in a shutdown, but might get government IOUs instead of paychecks until things are settled.

“Folks who are enlisted in the military don’t make a ton of money.  A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck and not knowing if they’re going to get paid on the 15th is going to add to a lot of stress for people in the community,” said Alex Bacon with Coffee Strong, a support organization near JBLM.

The Puget Sound Naval Station in Bremerton is Kitsap County’s largest employer.  Almost a quarter of its 13,000 workers would be furloughed without pay.  That’s on top of the sequester furlough days that effectively cut their pay by 20% this summer.

“They justifiably have high anxiety and all I can say is they’re bearing up with strength and purpose when I talk to them but I know it must be extremely frustrating for them,” Inslee said.

Unemployment checks could be held up if a shutdown lasts longer than a week.  State Department of Transportation road construction projects could face permit delays.

“The bottom line is this, as we know, is not a responsible way to govern and I urge members of Congress to work together to pass legislation to keep the government open,” Inslee said.

If a shutdown does happen, mail service and delivery of Social Security checks will not be affected, but all national parks will be closed.  If you are looking to buy a home, approval of any government-backed mortgage could be delayed.

The state’s Health Care Exchange website that goes live Tuesday morning will not be affected.

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