What the Government Shutdown Means in the Upper Valley

The midnight deadline for Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government has passed.  Partisan deadlock over the Affordable Care Act means that the resolution, which funds the federal government in the absence of an annual budget, did not get sent to President Obama, and funding for government operations is on hold.  Despite the typical term “shutdown,”  many federal services will continue to function.

Locally, the Post Office, National Weather Service, and Flight Service office will remain open.  Weather and Flight services are considered essential functions, and the U-S Postal Service is self-funded.  The one office that will definitely be closing its doors pending a deal is Denali National Park, including the Walter Harper Ranger Station in Talkeetna.  Maureen McLaughlin , spokeswoman for the Talkeetna Station, says that there are eleven employees working there this fall, of which four are already on furlough.  Throughout the Park, there are between 100 and 130 year-round employees.  Most of those workers will not be working until funding is resumed.  She says that some functions will continue.  Some maintenance staff, as well as a few law enforcement and E-M-S personnel will continue to work.  The kennel manager at Denali National Park will also be able to continue feeding and caring for the Park’s dog team.

McLaughlin says that whether those employees who are furloughed will be paid for the time they are not able to work is up in the air, but that they are planning as if they will not receive their pay retroactively.

The longest shutdown of the federal government began on December 16th, 1995 and lasted until January 6th, 1996.

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