Georgians could be in for some pain, if President Donald Trump and Congress can’t work out a budget deal by midnight Friday and cause a government shutdown.
Social Security checks, Medicare reimbursements and food stamps would continue flowing. And the mail would continue to be delivered. But it’s possible thousands of federal employees could be furloughed and national parks could be affected in Georgia.
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Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters in Washington Friday that if a government shutdown happens, it would look different than the one that occured during the Obama administration in 2013.
“The military will still go to work. They will not get paid,” Mulvaney said. “The border will still be patrolled. They will not get paid. Folks will still be fighting the fires out West. They will not get paid. The parks will be open. People won't get paid.”
Here is some of what to expect in Georgia:
Federal government workers: Georgia is home to nearly 4 percent of the federal government workforce, or 71,622 employees, according to the U.S Office of Personnel Management. It’s unknown precisely how many would be sent home, if the government runs out of money this weekend. But thousands were furloughed during the 2013 shutdown.
The military: Officials at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart said a “limited number of pre-designated personnel” would continue working and the rest would “maintain close contact with their supervisors for specific up-to-date instructions.” Both military installations contribute mightily to Georgia’s economy. Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, for example, have nearly 4,400 civilian employees and nearly 19,700 uniformed service members. Their economic impact on coastal Georgia totals $4.9 billion. During the 2013 shutdown, about 2,000 Georgia National Guardsmen were sent home. So were another 2,000 workers at Robins Air Force Base. Active-duty troops, however, were not furloughed. Veterans Affairs hospitals kept their doors open.
National parks: Georgia is home to some popular national parks, including Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. The National Park Service issued a statement this week saying its parks “will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures.” “For example, this means that roads that have already been open will remain open (think snow removal) and vault toilets (wilderness type restrooms) will remain open,” National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said. “However, services that require staffing and maintenance, such as campgrounds and full-service restrooms, will not be operating. The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation's capital will find war memorials and open-air parks open to the public.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The CDC, which has a major footprint in Atlanta, would furlough about 8,400 of its employees – or 65 percent – amid the flu season. A CDC spokesman referred questions to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Georgia government: A shutdown shouldn’t have a huge impact on Georgia’s finances, said Teresa MacCartney, Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget director. The state will get about $14 billion from the federal government this year to help runs agencies, much of it for health programs like Medicaid. But that money comes in the form of grants and reimbursements for services over the course of the year and that flow of money isn’t likely to be slowed much from a short-term federal shutdown. Historically, MacCartney said, federally-paid workers have been compensated for the time they are off during shutdowns once they end, so that also may not have much of a long-term impact.
Staff writer James Salzer contributed to this report.
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