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Government shutdown won’t have much effect in Excelsior Springs

UPDATED ON THURSDAY: The shutdown of the federal government won’t be directly felt by most residents of Excelsior Springs, though a lengthy shutdown may have an effect as federal funding for state and local services dwindles.

City operations will continue to function because they’re done on a local level, and state agencies should remain unaffected for now. As a result, unemployment, WIC, EBT and other state-run programs will go about their usual business.

Programs that are administered on a federal level are variously affected, but many of the services that local residents may depend on should continue to operate. The Social Security Administration still has nearly 75 percent of their workers on the job and is functioning partially, and while much of the Department of Labor is closed down (only about 3,000 of the DoL’s more than 16,000 workers remain on the job), the Worker Compensation Programs are still in operation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is still mostly open because the employees are funded through multi-year and other appropriations; only about 15,000 of that agency’s 332,000 workers have been furloughed.

The post office is still operating because it’s independently funded. And the Department of Transportation is partially closed, but the Federal Aviation Administration is near full functionality, meaning air travel should be affected only slightly or not at all.

The U.S. Court system can operate for several days on available funds, but would close if the government shutdown is prolonged past the 10-day mark.

Many of the agencies that provide oversight, such as the Small Business Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service, are mostly shut down but continue to perform some vital services.

The Consumer Safety Product Commission is mostly shut down, but a few workers remain to analyze defective products, coordinate recalls and monitor imports.

Half of the civilian workers at the Department of Defense have been furloughed; those who remain on the job will be paid retroactively after the shutdown ends, and the others may be paid retroactively if Congress approves it.

The partial shutdown continued on Thursday, all focusing around the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare. Democratic lawmakers have proposed funding all of government; GOP lawmakers suggest funding most of government but denying funding for the ACA, parts of which have been delayed but other parts of which—most notably, the Health Insurance Marketplace—took effect this week.

Since the shutdown, Republicans in Congress have put forth bills that fund certain operations such as the National Institutes of Health, but Democrats in the Senate have said that Congress shouldn’t be able to pick and choose what is funded and what is not.

Schools will be mostly unaffected because, while there is federal funding for our schools, most education operations are administered at the state level.

And while federal parks and monuments are closed during the shutdown, sites such as Watkins Mill State Park and State Historic Site are operated by the state of Missouri and therefore are unaffected.

By Eric Copeland •

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