Government shutdown would hurt New Mexico

Posted at: 09/28/2013 10:59 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Lawmakers are still battling over a plan to keep the country funded.

If there is no agreement by Monday night, the government would shut down, causing big problems for New Mexico.

National parks would close, passports would not be processed, and tens of thousands of New Mexicans could be out of work.

Saturday night, House Republicans forged ahead with a plan that would keep government in business through mid-December, but force Democrats to delay Obamacare for a year.

"Why are we doing this? Because this is a program too expensive to afford,” said Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn.

Democrats say it is no choice at all.

"The Senate won't take it up. The president won't sign it. House Republicans are shutting down the government,” Maryland Democrat Donna Edwards said.

Without an agreement comes a shutdown, and huge problems for New Mexico.

Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs would be okay for a while – they both have enough cash saved to operate through at least another month. But they are the exception, not the rule.

A shutdown could mean 11 national park closures in New Mexico.

It could also mean unprocessed passports, trouble for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and more cuts and furloughs at bases like Kirtland.

Plus, people paid by the federal government could get hit – including more than 53,000 workers and retirees statewide and nearly 24,000 in Bernalillo County alone.

Back in Washington, a contentious day wrapped up with a series of late-night votes.

The house passed legislation, but there was little movement toward preventing Tuesday’s looming government shutdown.