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Schiff expects 'diverse' impacts from government shutdown

The partial federal government shutdown is being hotly contested in Washington D.C., but its impacts will be felt locally, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said Tuesday — the first day many federal workers were furloughed.

The shutdown came about when the House of Representatives failed to pass a bill authorizing the federal government to fund its budget.

Republican members of the House have proposed a spending bill with amendments that would strip out already-budgeted funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or delay key portions of the healthcare reform bill, moves which the Democrat-controlled Senate will not pass.

Schiff said Tuesday that impacts felt in Glendale and Burbank will be both small and large as some federally funded entities such as the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory only stopped tweeting about missions and canceled public outreach events, while others such as the Small Business Administration and Department of Housing and Urban Development are closed down or working with skeleton crews.

“From little things, like wanting to follow what NASA's doing, to bigger things like delays in getting small business loans and delays in being able to access housing vouchers… The effects will be quite diverse,” Schiff said.

Other government offices that will be impacted include passport offices, federally owned museums such as the Smithsonian, IRS call centers that provide assistance to taxpayers and all national parks.

Most impacted by the shutdown will be the many employees of the federal government nationwide who will be deemed nonessential and put on unpaid furloughs. 

Employees that fulfill essential functions will continue to work, but will not be paid. Congress can choose to approve back pay for those employees.

In Glendale, that will impact employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office on Brand Boulevard and workers at the Social Security Administration office on Central Avenue.

For Glendale and Burbank residents, there's not much that can be done locally to push for an end to the shutdown, Schiff said, but he wants them to make it clear how they're being affected anyway.

“[My constituents] do have family and friends in other places that can weigh in with their representatives and let them know how destructive this is,” he said. “I think letters to editor, campaigns that raise the profile of this do influence elected officials and can be important in putting on the pressure to get past this.”

Schiff said that the Republican party, which holds a majority in the House, needs to stop holding the country's economy hostage over a healthcare repeal bill they don't have the votes to pass normally.

“(Democrats) would never do that, it's just destructive. You've got to have some rules or some decorum or you really can't keep the government functioning,” he said. “If you're the governing party, you really can't afford the luxury of these fights that interrupt the business of the nation.”

Schiff said constituents can call his office for help finding information unavailable because other agencies are closed or to share stories of how they are being affected by the shutdown.

Schiff's office can be contacted through Schiff.house.gov or locally at (818) 450-2900.

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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