Shutdown has local effects

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Far away from Washington, D.C., one of the effects of the government’s shutdown can be found deep in the Conecuh National Forest: The shooting range is closed.

And while people can still access the general forest, campgrounds are operating for now on using fee funding, but the USDA Forest Service office is officially closed.

“Recreation sites across the U.S. National Forest System, unless they are operated by external parties under a recreational special use permit, will be closed,” the USDA website states. “While technically closed, many will still be physically accessible to visitors at their own risk, but without staffing at ranger stations and without access to facilities such as public restrooms.”

USDA loan processes have been stopped, and the USDA’s Farm Service Agencies were closed, effective Dec. 28, until the government reopens, according to the USDA website.

The government shut down that began Dec. 22 pertains to funding for fiscal year 2019, which began Oct. 1, 2018.  On Dec. 19, the Senate unanimously passed a continuing resolution (extending funding levels in place in FY 2018), but Trump said he would not sign a bill that did not include border wall funding, reversing course on previous statements. The House passed a version of the continuing resolution on Dec. 20 that included $5 billion for the border wall and $8 billion in disaster funds, but Senate negotiations did not lead to agreement on changes to the continuing resolution. 

The issue is further complicated because when Congress reconvenes on Thursday, the Democrats will control the House of Representatives.

On Monday, Democrats said they plan to vote on a bipartisan package of six Senate spending bills and a stopgap measure to re-open the Department of Homeland Security at its current funding levels until February 8, the aide said. The temporary measure would maintain the current $1.3 billion in border security money, which can be used for fencing and repairs of current barriers.

The  shutdown will not interrupt Social Security payments, SNAP benefits, or Medicare benefits.