When the tea people took power in 2010, I knew we’d get a government shutdown at one point or another. I’m surprised it’s actually taken them this long, since the conservative base seems to misremember the 1995 shutdown as a high achievement of Republican politics, and a significant political victory.
No, the idea that the public would rally around this aggressive display of wingnuttery never made any sense. This stuff scares people. Mostly voters will be treated to a teachable moment about what happens when all those federal public services Republicans are always whining about suddenly stop working. 17th District Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright explains what the tea people just did to us:
“A shutdown could delay financial support for Pennsylvania’s small businesses. A shutdown could delay military pay and hurt military families in Pennsylvania. The Department of Defense estimates that during a shutdown nearly half of the civilian workforce would be sent home without pay, while the rest would continue to work for potentially delayed pay, impacting the 23,905 civilian workers in Pennsylvania. 30,757 service-members in Pennsylvania would remain on duty, but would see their pay delayed if the shutdown extends for more than 10 days unless legislation specifically addressing the delay is enacted.
“A shutdown would put tens of thousands of federal employees in Pennsylvania out of work and, although checks for current Social Security benefits would still go out during a shutdown, applications for new benefits would be delayed and services for seniors could be significantly curtailed.
“As a result of furloughs and service cuts during the last government shutdown, 112,000 claims for Social Security and disability benefits were not be taken, 212,000 applications for Social Security Numbers were not taken, and 800,000 callers were denied service on the Social Security Administration’s 1-800 number.
“New veterans’ educational, compensation and pension benefits processing could also be delayed. During the 1995-96 shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans. Pennsylvania has 953,644 veterans.
“A government shutdown could force Head Start centers around the country to close. During FY 2012, an estimated 1,600 Head Start agencies served over 950,000 children, including 36,955 children in Pennsylvania.
“It is a sad commentary on the state of the majority party in the House that its leaders are powerless to contain the most extreme voices demanding for a path we know will disrupt the economy, kill jobs, and stunt growth. I urge the Speaker to end this dangerous game and advance a Continuing Resolution capable of passing the Senate and being signed into law.”