Hawaii braces for impacts of potential government shutdown
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With a possible government shutdown looming, families in Hawaii could suffer if Congress can't reach a deal soon. The budget battle needs to be resolved by the end of Monday, otherwise the showdown over the government spending bill could end up hurting military families, federal workers and national parks.
Roughly 4,000 people head to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center each day, but 35 workers will be furloughed if the government shuts down, leaving the facility and the USS Arizona Memorial off-limits.
"We're all watching the news and hoping for a resolution, hoping that we can maintain access to this important national icon," said Eileen Martinez of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
If Congress can't reach a deal by October 1, about half of the Defense Department's civilian workforce will be sent home without pay and the rest would work for delayed pay, affecting 18,937 employees in Hawaii, according to the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. The Hawaii National Guard estimates that close to a 1,000 members of its full-time force may be furloughed.
"Functions that have to do with national security, life and limb we'll still be able to cover down on that, but much of the missions that we have, mission sets that we have, it's going to be very, very difficult to cover down on those," explained Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, spokesman for the Hawaii National Guard.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said that if the deadline passes, she plans to return her pay to the U.S. Treasury for the duration of the shutdown.
"We have troops who are putting themselves in harm's way, we have law enforcement officers, we have folks who will be reporting for work if the government shuts down and who will not be receiving pay, and it's unacceptable for members of Congress to be paid when these folks are not," said Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
The Senate passed a temporary spending bill that restores funding for the president's health care law. House Republicans had eliminated the funding in their version. Now the revised measure moves back to the House.
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