Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NBCSL Statement on the First Federal Government Shutdown in 17 Years

Offices in the federal government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years at midnight on Monday, October 1, 2013 due to Congressional inaction. All but the most essential functions in government, and those not funded through annual Congressional appropriations, have come to a halt.

NBCSL President Joe Armstrong (TN) issues the following statement:

"A federal government shutdown does not just affect the people in our nation's capital; it affects those in cities and states across the country. Today, almost two million Americans were furloughed or asked to work without pay. With African Americans making up nearly one in five non postal federal employees, many of these Americans were members of our communities.

Critical programs and services were also suspended indefinitely today. Whether it is processing Social Security, Medicare and Veteran benefits, federal assistance for housing, or the administration of critical health initiatives, programs that are important to the underserved and disadvantaged are now being pulled when they need them the most.

The center of the current political debate is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As open enrollment begins today, NBCSL asserts that we must not forget the importance of this landmark law and the people to which it serves. For this reason, NBCSL passed Business, Financial Services, and Insurance Resolution 11-22, Calling for Continued Support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (BFI 11-22), a resolution advocating for the full implementation of the ACA. NBCSL has long stood in support of this law, and opposes any efforts to defund or weaken it. ACA must be fully funded.

As state lawmakers, we do not know how long this stalemate will last – it could be one day or one week. How it will affect our state operations, services, and functions is also uncertain. What we do know, however, is that a government shutdown, of any length, can create lasting effects on our communities.

NBCSL urges members of Congress to work together and come to an agreement that restores funding for the federal government, allows Americans to return to work with pay, and fully funds the Affordable Care Act to ensure health insurance for constituents across the country."
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