Hawaii 24/7 Staff
From Nathaniel Lubin, White House Deputy Director of Digital Strategy:
Congress has two jobs to do: pass a budget and pay its bills. Yesterday, Congress failed to fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget and as a result, much of the Federal government will shut down.
Below, find an overview of some of the government services and operations that will be impacted until Congress passes a budget to fund them again.
* Vital services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient Federal funds to serve all beneficiaries in an extended lapse.
* Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help veterans understand their benefits will close to the public.
* And, veterans’ compensation, pension, education and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown.
* Every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, will be immediately closed.
* New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will be immediately halted.
* Research into life-threatening diseases and other areas will stop and new patients won’t be accepted into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
* Work to protect consumers, ranging from child product safety to financial security to the safety of hazardous waste facilities, will cease. The EPA will halt non-essential inspections of chemical facilities and drinking water systems.
* Permits and reviews for planned energy and transportations projects will stop, preventing companies from working on these projects.
* Loans to rural communities will be halted.
* Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees including many charged with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe will work without pay until the shutdown ends.
* Hundreds of thousands of additional Federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
The following services that will continue during the government shut down:
* Social security beneficiaries will continue receiving checks.
* The U.S. Postal Service will keep delivering mail.
* Active military will continue serving.
* Air traffic controllers, prison guards and border patrol agents will remain on the job.
* NASA Mission Control will continue supporting astronauts serving on the Space Station.
Governor Comment on Federal Government Shutdown
Gov. Neil Abercrombie recently met with bond purchasers and major credit rating agencies in Los Angeles and New York to confirm Hawaii’s solid fiscal condition.
While meeting with the credit agencies, it was clear to them that the shutdown of the federal government could have serious detrimental effects on the economies for all states.
The federal shutdown could also compromise much of the accomplishments that Hawaii has achieved in the past few years emerging from the economic recession.
“The State of Hawaii cannot substitute for the federal government nor assume its obligations. However, with the report from the Sequestration Impact Response Team in hand, resources funded this past legislative session, and the readiness of all departments in the administration to respond to the shutdown, we are confident in our ability to address immediate contingencies. It is the clear responsibility of Congress to end the shutdown as quickly as possible and to meet continuously until that is accomplished.”
Message from President Barack Obama: www.opm.gov/news/latest-news/a…
Schatz statement on government shutdown
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz released the following statement Tuesday on House Republicans’ latest political game-playing:
“The latest stunt by House Republicans unfortunately demonstrates that they aren’t yet serious about reopening the government. The government shutdown is causing real economic pain for middle class families in Hawaii, and there’s a simple way to fix this. All that Speaker Boehner would need to do is to allow the House of Representatives to vote to reopen the government without including irrelevant and harmful amendments to defund Obamacare.
“The vote I cast yesterday would provide a pathway towards getting our economy and our government back up and running. It is long past time that the House votes and stops its procedural games. The 25,000 federal employees in Hawaii deserve better leadership than this.”
Gabbard answers questions about government shutdown impacts
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced new resources on her official website to help constituents understand the impacts of the possible government shutdown.
“A government shutdown will have wide-ranging impacts that will affect tens of thousands of Hawaii residents,” Gabbard said. “Between myself, my team in Hawaii and Washington, and the resources I have made available on my website, I want to provide the best possible service to my constituents during what will certainly be a difficult time. I am continuing to work with my colleagues to push for a reasonable solution to avert the shutdown, but will stand prepared to assist the people of Hawaii in every way possible until a common-sense deal can be struck.”
Gabbard’s office will remain open with minimal staff in the event of a shutdown. The phone lines in her Washington, D.C. and Honolulu offices will also remain open to provide constituent services.
Constituents may call (202) 225-4906 or (808) 541-1986 for assistance.
Gabbard: Shutdown will hurt families, economy
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement on the government shutdown Tuesday:
“I am deeply disappointed by the political rhetoric and games that have been played over the past week. Valid concerns and issues have been raised, but are issues that should be debated and solved without holding our government hostage, with countless people in Hawaii and across the nation feeling the brunt of the painful impacts. I encourage my constituents to review the resources available on my website during the shutdown, as I continue to work towards a common-sense solution to this unnecessary shutdown as soon as possible.”
Gabbard: Congress must pass clean funding bill now
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted Tuesday against three individual funding bills that would only end the shutdown for select government agencies.
The funding bills would provide short-term funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Park Service, and the District of Columbia. All three measures failed to pass the House Tuesday evening.
“Attempting to fix the government shutdown by picking winners and losers, taking a piecemeal approach, is like trying to choose which child to feed,” Gabbard said. “This approach means that the government shutdown will not end. Congress must pass a clean funding bill to finally put an end to it. We must work out a common-sense agreement that will end the pain of a shutdown across the entire government. Even after the shutdown impacts started today, the political games in Washington are continuing by turning our veterans into pawns. This is shameful and no way to govern the greatest democracy in the world.”
The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would veto any piecemeal funding bills. The House has already passed a Veterans Appropriations bill that would fund the VA at higher levels than the bill that failed in the House tonight.
Timeline of Gabbard’s actions to avert the government shutdown:
Sept. 20 – Gabbard votes against a damaging short-term funding bill that maintained arbitrary budget cuts and defunded Obamacare entirely:
“Holding our economy hostage, creating a hostile and uncertain environment for everyone from small business owners to the military, continuing these indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts hurts hard-working families in Hawaii and across the country. Congress has a responsibility to work together to rise above partisan politics and pass legislation that does not create yet another self-imposed crisis every few months.”
Sept. 26: Gabbard introduces a bill to protect military pay if government shuts down:
“A politically driven government shutdown hurts our economy, our hard-working families, and our military. While the best outcome would be to work together to find a solution and avoid a damaging government shutdown that will hurt all of our federal employees, the Military Pay Protection Act is a first step toward ensuring our troops and their families do not become victims of this unnecessary shutdown. Those who are serving and sacrificing for our nation should not face uncertainty at home about whether they will be able to feed their families or pay their mortgage.”
Sept. 27 – Gabbard announces she will return her pay to the U.S. Treasury for every day the government is shut down:
“If a common-sense agreement is not reached, our hard-working troops, law enforcement and other essential personnel will continue to report for duty while receiving no pay, leaving their families at home with nothing but uncertainty. In a shutdown, tens of thousands of Hawaii families will bear this burden; I want them to know I will stand with them.”
Sept. 28 – Following Gabbard’s call, the House votes to protect military pay if the government shuts down:
“Our troops on the front lines and their families back home do not deserve to be the victims of partisan games in Washington. Ensuring our troops continue to be paid is common sense and I’m glad that our call to protect these selfless heroes is being heard. While it’s encouraging that this provision to pay our servicemembers in the event of a shutdown is being considered, it does little to prevent a government shutdown in the first place.”
Sept. 29 – Gabbard votes for a second time against a damaging short-term funding bill that maintained arbitrary budget cuts:
“We need a reasonable, workable solution, not partisan games that will hurt hard-working families all across Hawaii and our country. We have many issues that deserve our attention and urgent challenges to tackle in Congress, but holding our economy and our federal government hostage is not the way to address them.”
Sept. 30 – Gabbard announces she will keep her offices open with limited staff during a shutdown and published online resources for her constituents:
“Between myself, my team in Hawaii and Washington, and the resources I have made available on my website, I want to provide the best possible service to my constituents during what will certainly be a difficult time.”
Hawaii Republican Party chairman calls for Senate to act
Hawaii Republican Party (HRP) Chairman David Chang released the following statement Tuesday on the continuing resolution being debated by the House and Senate:
“It’s Oct. 1 and the people of Hawaii woke up to learn that their government has failed. Thousands of federal workers were told to stay home indefinitely without pay, while Senate Democrats refuse to come to the table with House Republicans to compromise and pass a budget to end this government shutdown.
The House has continually been reaching out to the Senate Democrats and President Obama to pass a resolution to ensure everyone receives equal treatment, no special interests receive exemptions from Obamacare, and small businesses have the time needed to make sure they are prepared for the new healthcare law.
The House has been willing to offer a compromise with Senate Democrats to do what’s best for the American people. Harry Reid, along with our Hawaii Senators Schatz and Hirono, has unfortunately stood in the way and allowed Americans to suffer.
On Day One of Obamacare, polls continue to show its unpopularity among Americans and software glitches have prevented people in Hawaii and across the nation from accessing the health exchange programs, a critical component of the new law.
The individual mandate is already forcing some employers to cut back the hours of their workers, hurting our economy. I believe the House is willing to offer a compromise to avoid a long-term federal government shutdown and I call on Senate Democrats to work with them.”
The HRP also urged voters to call the offices of Sen. Schatz (202-224-3934) and Sen. Hirono (202-224-6361) to ask them to take action today and end the government shutdown.
Government shutdown forces closure of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
All visitor facilities including Kilauea Visitor Center, park hotels, campgrounds and roads – except for Highway 11, a thru way – are closed.
The park will remain closed until the government reopens.
Superintendent Cindy Orlando said that park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges will be given until 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park.
In addition, all park programs and special events have been canceled.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hosts 4,500 visitors on average each day; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. The park will lose an estimated $12,800 of entrance fees each day of the shutdown, plus other fees.
Nationwide, the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.
Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown.
Visitors spend about $96,990,000 a year in the communities around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or approximately $265,726 a day.
In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 127 employees are on furlough because of the shutdown and another 90 concessions employees are similarly affected. Thirteen park employees remain on duty, providing security and emergency services.
Nationwide, the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.
Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.
About the National Park Service. National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
Two talks about earthquakes in Hawaii and the upcoming Great Hawaii ShakeOut – which were to be presented by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists at UH-Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tonight (Oct. 1) – are postponed until further notice due to the federal government shutdown.
New dates for the talks will be announced at a later time.