Shut it down: Government shutdown affects parks, military and drilling in Wyoming

2013-09-30T21:30:00Z 2013-11-01T10:42:03Z Shut it down: Government shutdown affects parks, military and drilling in WyomingBy KYLE ROERINK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online
September 30, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

Congress failed to work out a short-term spending deal on Monday, sending the nation into its first shutdown in 17 years.

Senate Democrats’ and House Republicans’ inability to hash out a plan will force significant changes in the daily operations of federal agencies in Wyoming.

No new oil and gas leases can be contracted between private companies and public lands run by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, Jessica Kershaw, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department, said Monday.

All wells currently producing will continue to produce, she said.

The BLM has 10,800 employees nationally and will furlough all but 600 because of the shutdown.

The number of federal employees monitoring energy operations will fall to the bare minimum to conduct inspections and maintenance, Kershaw said.

The Wyoming National Guard will furlough 400 technicians who work in human resources, logistics, purchasing, contracting and other areas. All active guard members will continue to work and be paid.

Both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks will close. Campers, hikers and backpackers will have two days to leave the premises. A shutdown will cost park gateway communities across the country $30 million in revenue, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. The shutdown means 21,000 park employees will be furloughed nationally.

Entitlement program recipients will continue to receive Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps.

First-time home buyers and low-to-moderate income loan applicants will face delays during the shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees about 30 percent of loans nationwide and won’t be able to underwrite loans with federal agencies closed.

Experts say the shutdown could slow the stronger housing market and consumer spending at a time when the economy is improving.

“Not all of these things happen right away, but it doesn’t take too long for these things to have an effect,” said Paul Van de Water, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan think tank in Washington.

Most veteran services will continue, but President Barack Obama threatened on Monday that some veterans centers could close during a shutdown.

What kept the two parties polarized Monday was a House Republican push to use the short-term spending bill as a way to put the brakes on certain parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In the past week, the House drafted three separate sets of amendments in the funding bill that proposed to defund or delay Obamacare — all of which the Senate killed. The move to tack on the controversial health legislation was praised by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz, who gave a 21-hour speech last Tuesday and Wednesday in support of the measure, and other hardline Republicans including Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., rebuked the game of political hot potato that has been going on in both chambers of Congress for the past week. In the case of a shutdown, Wyoming’s senior senator vowed to return any pay he would receive during that time.

“Once again our country is being brought to the brink by a crisis that we’ve seen coming for months,” Enzi said. “This gridlock is caused in part because of reliance on deal-making instead of legislating. Process may not be interesting, but this impending shutdown is the result of process being hijacked to avoid politically uncomfortable votes. In the Senate, the majority has prevented Senate committees from working on the 12 individual appropriations bills, and (Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.) has stopped amendments from being considered on the floor. The process that allows for debate and all elected members to have their voices heard has been abandoned and in its place is governing by leadership-driven crises.”

Barrasso appeared on CNN on Sunday, where he condemned Obamacare, claiming that it was being held together by “duct tape and chicken wire.”

Barrasso and Enzi voted to defund and delay Obamacare in Senate votes during the past week.

Into early evening Monday, the stalemate continued. With both chambers of Congress looking to display unity, much of the spotlight in the shutdown drama shone on Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Pundits were looking to see if members of either chamber would defect to the opposing side on the votes. But throughout the day the votes remained consistent.

The day began when the Senate rejected a House spending bill that came with amendments posing to delay or undo parts of the law for the second time in a week. Throughout the day the House worked on new amendments that would delay the January launch of Obamacare’s individual mandate while removing federal health insurance subsidies to members of Congress and their staffers. Reid vowed to table any legislation affecting Obamacare and stuck to his word.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said the late-day proposals by the House were a way for the Senate to eat its own cooking.

She said Reid would be to blame if members of Congress and their staff receive health care subsidies unavailable to other Americans in health insurance plans offered through insurance exchanges set up by Obamacare. The subsidies weren’t originally available to Congress, but the Obama administration granted them in August after what many in the GOP claimed to be backdoor deals between Senate Democrats and Obama.

“If Harry Reid hasn’t seen polls that show drops from 10 to 20 points for members of Congress who want to exempt themselves from Obamacare, I would be surprised,” she said. “If he has the political kamikaze in him to exempt Congress and the White House from Obamacare then I think he will see the public rebel against Democrats and Harry Reid in 2014.”

This government shutdown is the 18th since 1977. The last shutdowns were in 1995 and 1996 when President Bill Clinton squared off with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in a spending battle. The shutdowns lasted for a combined 27 days.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. WyomingLiberal
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    WyomingLiberal - October 08, 2013 3:50 pm
    The United States is insolvent. It is the largest debtor in history. The only way to address the problem is by defaulting or printing money. In the long run, the former is preferable, but it takes more political balls because the results are more immediate. Raising taxes to 100% couldn't solve this. We the people should stop attacking our political opponents and start preparing to care for our families, friends, and neighbors ourselves. We must de-surrogate ourselves from the government and learn how to depend on each other peacefully and voluntarily. This shutdown may be just the beginning of the fall of a very fragile but very large house of cards. This fiasco should come as no surprise to anyone.
  2. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 08, 2013 8:37 am
    Saw in the news where the Congress passed several bills to get the workforce back to work but, the democrat Senate refuses to bring it to vote. What gives? Either put them back to work or keep them shut down.
  3. Pops
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    Pops - October 07, 2013 4:16 pm
    The shutdown is internationally embarrassing to the U.S. government.
  4. Jackalope
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    Jackalope - October 06, 2013 7:04 pm
    What would you recommend to the leaders in the HR if the Senate would approve the house proposal you mention and add of an amendment to restore the assault weapons ownership restrictions that passed at the time the the Brady Bill was enacted into law?
    That would require no additional spending. The wording was once approved by both houses of Congress. Would that be something that could fit into a compromise? Or, would that be a reason for the HR to continue the shutdown of the government?
  5. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - October 05, 2013 2:53 pm
    what a scam, shut down the parks? for what? this is scare people and incite civil unreast. the guys that were laid off still will be paid they announched that this morning. so boo'hoo. so some beuracrate got the axe so what. do you see them feeling sorry for you when they question you about your tax return os something.
  6. 99Savage
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    99Savage - October 05, 2013 2:52 pm
    Obama and his goons are spending more money enforcing the parks and monuments shutdowns than if they would have left them open. But hey, they have to make a point.

    in the meantime, the southern boarder is more open than ever.
  7. dd ric
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    dd ric - October 05, 2013 7:11 am
    The (T-P)s shut down 800,000 workers,like that's a victory? Then they have the brass to help Veterans at the WW2 Memorial,for a photo-op,of course,while claiming to be Christians and believing in God and ,Darned,aren't they the only true American patriots. It's not really the (R)s that are the hypocrites on this one. Dich Armey messed up welcoming these lemmings without a cause because he coveted their monies,and if they do have all that money,why don't they plant their own tea? ddric
  8. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 04, 2013 9:50 am
    This is interesting that, it wasn't the TEA Party the shut down the government to defund Obamacare. As Congress asked the President to give the rest of the public the same exemptions Congress, Union Amerca and Corporate America received.
    Now the President is not willing to negotiate the IRS backing off for a year in enforcing the collection trays of fines expected. While IRS forces those with acute issues such as financially acquiring insurance to pay up immediately when they sign.
    The silver lining here is, that the estimated 14% of the Government that shut down, very little effect, if any all, has been realized. Perhaps now id the time that Congress reviews a redundant work force from a non-essential government workers.
    This is definitely a golden opportunity for Government to review like the General Services Administration or GSA that spent $820k on Las Vegas parties. That has It has over 12,000 employees and a budget of more than $26 billion.
    I'd say if the Government shut down of 14% can remain in effect, for 12 months. The USA has just cut $26 billion out of its budget. While the Congress is at it, why not cut the 100,000 new IRS agents hired for Obamacare? That's 8 times more in employees, therefore 8 x 26 billion equals $206 billion plus the $26 billion would save this nation $250 billion.
    That is 1/4 of the money Obama's budgets requests as borrowed money, while the public is shouting "stop- spending money". Then Obamacare needs an additional $1.5 trillion of borrowed money to start it, or people have to pay without being insured till the money is there. What a deal, all cause Obama refuses to give americans the same deal he gave Congress and the Senate, IRS, Unions and Corporate America.
  9. glendorealist
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    glendorealist - October 03, 2013 3:01 pm
    Apparently Tea Party is a synonym for Al Qeada
  10. QB14
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    QB14 - October 03, 2013 8:27 am
    The "shutdown" is showing us this: We can get by with a lot fewer federal employees than we currently have.

    Here's a question. What in the world does Senator Enzi mean by "This gridlock is caused in part because of reliance on deal-making instead of legislating." Legislating is dealmaking. It's negotiation. When the issue is so big that leadership takes over the negotiation, the subcommittee and committee structures are thrown aside because they are too slow and bureaucratic. Here, the Republicans need to be clever enough to put sufficient pressure on the democrats that the democrats are willing to concede important Obamacare points. If we had more forceful and better Republicans in charge, maybe we'd have more leverage. Indeed, the President is just sitting back, watching the polls and waiting for the Rs to concede. If the Rs had planned a bit further in advance, they could have mounted the type of PR campaign to have more leverage at the bargaining table. We have the wrong Rs in office. They failed.

    But, again, this is all about "dealmaking." Bureacratic Committee processes are nonsense, Senator Enzi. Maybe you don't get it.
  11. rigrat
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    rigrat - October 01, 2013 2:28 pm
    You bet,and it smells like road apples from a horse,tea billies...thanks a lot for NOTHING.
  12. Jackalope
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    Jackalope - October 01, 2013 1:07 pm
    You smell that? You smell that? That is the military prepardness of the U.S. going up in smoke. That is the glow of unemployment rising out of the recovery. That is the stench of the greatest nation in the world, gutted by the barbarians who are engaged in a celebration of victory over a government that exists only in their wildest dreams. Best you read "Anatomy of a Revolution."
  13. TeaPublican
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    TeaPublican - October 01, 2013 10:45 am
    OMG!...this is awesome! When we TeaPublicans started this “Tea Party” movement we never dreamed that within a few years we would have enough political clout to control the lives of hundreds of millions of people….and also be able to shut down obama’s government anytime we didn’t get our way! And some people actually thing we are going to go away? Bahahahaha! You ain’t seen nothing yet folks….you ain’t seen nothing yet! We are saving OUR America and people now realize TeaPublicans are true American Patriots! You smell that? Do you smell that? Victory, son . Nothing else in the world smells like that. We TeaPublicans love the smell of victory in the morning!
  14. trapper
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    trapper - October 01, 2013 10:32 am
    why not simply it for the politicians to get something done rather than hold the country hostage on a add on bill to the main bill. Onr bill at a time as it appears they cant seem to be able to chew bubble gum & walk at the same time much less get anything done thats good for this country that the people want.
  15. Jackalope
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    Jackalope - October 01, 2013 9:59 am
    If you read "D-Nev" as something else, maybe you have a tendency to read something as what you want to read, rather than what the words say: like a park can operate with out rangers to supervise the roads and trails, geysers and hot water pools, without maintenance people to keep the lights on and the plumbing functioning. I heard a Republican congressman from Texas say that this was "unpaid vacation" for federal employees. I do not think he checked with the concessioners without customers, or the merchants that depend upon spending by federal employees, contractors, or thetourists. If you are all heaped up about a "Hundred Million" spent by the president--we will let the rest of the misinformation slide as a compromise between bitterness and conversation--you sure as heck ought to be impressed by the billions that will be wasted by this shutdown. Just as you have difficulty understanding people stupid enough to stand behind "this TYRANT," I have a problem understanding people who are stupid enough to stand behind people who are stupid enough to destroy the tactics that they are using in vain. These methods should produce famous results when they attempt to repudiate the debts of the U.S. for whatever insane purpose they deem patriotic.
  16. Sweetmom
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    Sweetmom - October 01, 2013 9:36 am
    My comment is difent what bout claspers dfs can we still get food stamps and what bout the extra check tha people get in December for the people that get ssi and will we get are return checks
  17. wyochris
    Report Abuse
    wyochris - October 01, 2013 8:22 am
    I really believe (and sincerely hope) that is just a TYPO above-saying that harry reid is a Republican from Nevada!? What a horrible thing to "wake up" to this morning-Yellowstone Park Shut Down, and Harry Reid is a Rep!!?? I would like to know what the FEDERAL Highway through Yellowstone Park has to do with this shutdown? WHY can they close this highway and no others (like I-80)? Is 80 not a Federal Highway just like 14/16/20? The Concessioners in YP aren't Federal (they'll be open, but with no customers to make it to their doors), the Highways are clear-the Highway gates should be left Wide Open! What's the difference-just that there will be no one there to "take the money"- so they are shutting the gates!? There are no Mud Slides, Floods, Road Construction, Fires etc, justs an ingnorant bunch of libs who decided that they are going to make the American People BLEED if they don't get their (obama's) phony healthcare (that a majority of Americans don't want anyway)! I for one can NOT understand how people can be stupid enough to "stand behind" this TYRANT in the Whitre House!!? The White House Tours have been closed down all year to save a coupla bucks-yet the obama's spent a Hundred Million TOURING his home country of Africa!?What the He!! is wrong with this picture?
  18. rigrat
    Report Abuse
    rigrat - October 01, 2013 7:28 am
    Thanks tea billies .
  19. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - October 01, 2013 7:27 am
    Mead and jack wagons that believed plowing the snow from the park would buy them favors...
  20. Jethro
    Report Abuse
    Jethro - October 01, 2013 6:38 am
    Ha ha ha . Reid is a knucklehead .
  21. chas holman
    Report Abuse
    chas holman - September 30, 2013 9:30 pm
    Jack.. indeed my friend, indeed.
  22. Jackalope
    Report Abuse
    Jackalope - September 30, 2013 8:57 pm
    If we were a parliamentary system, we could through up our hands and call for elections.
    But didn't we do that eleven months ago: More votes for the Democrats on the Presidency, the Senate--thanks to donations by the Tea Party, and the House of Representatives, though gerrymandering affected the count eventually. And, if we hold our horses, we can go through this again in 2014 and 2016. But, wouldn't we be better off if we had a government while we were waiting.
  23. chas holman
    Report Abuse
    chas holman - September 30, 2013 8:14 pm
    I dedicate this song to the Tea Party boy's down there in Congress who somewhere along the line forgot they were only out to destroy big government, and not everyone else in between.

    "watch out, you might get what you wanted......'
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