How Will The Government Shutdown Affect ME?
The federal government shutdown doesn't mean your mail will stop but could change your weekend plans.
At issue in Washington D.C. is a spending bill that would prevent the deportation of U.S. residents brought illegally into the country when they were children, currently referred to as 'Dreamers.' Some lawmakers feel they shouldn't be protected from deportation laws, while others feel, since they didn't have a choice about entering the country, they shouldn't have to live in fear of being sent away. After an inability to come to an agreement, the federal government closed down at midnight. So how does this affect Maine?
First and foremost, the postal service will continue to deliver the mail, so that won't be disrupted. The military will continue to work, as will air traffic controllers. Amtrak's Downeaster will also be running during the shutdown. And good news for many in the state, food stamps, Social Security, medicare, and veterans' benefits will be distributed. Veterans will also still be able to access medical treatment at facilities like Togus. The other side of that coin, however, is that those who wish to sign up for benefits will most likely have to wait until the shutdown is over.
Folks who receive heating and housing assistance could see their benefits disrupted, although it's not clear how they will be affected. Federal employees won't be getting paychecks, and some civilian workers could be furloughed. This is probably not the best time to think about getting a passport, as that process will likely see delays.
A big change in Maine will revolve around Acadia National Park. The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce says the park will be closed during the shutdown, so access to many portions of the park will be affected. Park officials remind residents that, while many parts of the park are accessible by other means, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, there are no park rangers on duty during the shutdown. Visitors are cautioned to use the grounds at their own risk.
According to pressherald.com, there are nearly 11,000 executive branch federal jobs in Maine, and those are the folks who will be most affected. They may have to wait until the shutdown is over to be retroactively paid for the work they do while the government sorts out this immigration issue. Some could be forced to take unpaid time off. Let's hope the folks in Washington can sort this out quickly.