Cleveland: Workers, citizens brace for federal shutdown

6:49 PM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- It was a busier than normal Monday at Cleveland's Celebrezze federal office building, where thousands of government workers were updated on whether or not they'll be on the job Tuesday.

Many citizens came hoping to resolve matters or fix problems while Uncle Sam was still open for business before an expected midnight shutdown.

John Pollard came to deal with veterans and Social Security issues.

"I had to come early in the morning, and it's packed in there, wall to wall ... this is not how our government is supposed to work," he said.

Workers have gotten their marching orders whether or not to report to work Tuesday if the shutdown kicks in.

DFAS workers handle Navy and veterans payroll. The agency is not directly funded by Congress, and its work is deemed essential.

DFAS worker Sharron Webb said, "They told us to report in, keep paying veterans and the military."

But lots of civilian military workers were not so fortunate.

Coast Guard worker Jim Nicks said, "We've just been told if there's a shutdown not to come to work."

About 3,300 government and private workers won't be reporting for work Tuesday at NASA Glenn if there's a shutdown.

Routine OSHA workplace inspections would stop. The Cuyahoga National Valley Park would close. Most IRS operations would halt.

There would be delays processing new passports.

Mail delivery will go on. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid checks will continue.

Air controllers, TSA airport screeners and law enforcement agents would all stay on the job.

Federal courts will continue operations. But there could be some layoffs by the middle of next month.

From Washington, Ohio lawmakers are holding firmly to their respective positions. One side insists on stopping funding for Obamacare. The other says halting the government is no way to deal with that issue.

Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur complained about Tea Party Republicans insisting that the president's health care plan be defunded: "Inside the Republican caucus, they are a huge force and a force for non-compromise to Speaker John Boehner comes out defanged. He can't even work with our side."

Boehner said, "It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people (and agree to defund Obamacare)."

The debate is now more about blame and less about finding a way to prevent an action that will impact millions of Americans.


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