Government shutdown having impact in Greene County

As the federal government shutdown enters its second month while Congress and President Trump continue to debate over security on the nation’s southern border, some of the shutdown’s effects are being felt within Greene County.
One of the most telling effects of the shutdown is at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Republic. The federal park’s visitor center and nearby historical museum are currently closed during the shutdown, but visitors can still access the park trails on foot. Tokens that allow visitors to drive their vehicles into the park grounds are sold in the visitor center, so they cannot be purchased while the shutdown continues. It’s unclear if visitors with an annual pass can take their vehicles into the trails.
Another effect of the shutdown is that some local federal government workers are currently not being paid, which can create a ripple effect on the economy. Nationwide, about 800,000 federal employees are currently not being paid while the shutdown continues. Of those, 420,000 are deemed “essential” and are required to work without pay; the rest are furloughed.
A number of federal agencies have headquarters in Springfield, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Secret Service, and the Census Bureau. The Medical Center for Federal Prisoners is also located in Springfield. Federal law enforcement and corrections officers are among those currently working for no pay.

Not all federal employees are going without a paycheck, however. The United States Postal Service, for example, gets its funding from postage paid by customers for deliveries, so the shutdown has no effect on it. The postal service’s operations continue as normal, and their employees are being paid.
Other government department employees are also being paid during the shutdown.
According to the Newsweek article “Trump Government Shutdown 2018,” about 75-percent of government office had their funding allocated by Congress prior to the shutdown, and President Trump signed legislation for about $900 billion of the $1.2 trillion of operating expenses for the federal government.
Among the agencies still running and paying their employees is the USDA National Resources Conservation Service (NRSC). Charlie Rahm, a public affairs officer with the NRSC in Columbia said, “All of the regional conservation offices are open and conducting business as usual, as far as our customers are concerned.” He added, “Our employees are working, and we are getting paid.”
The effects of the shutdown in Greene County may become more telling if the impasse between the president and Congress continues. In education, the biggest concern, according to an article by Education Week, is the National School Lunch Program. Currently, the USDA, which provides free and reduced-price lunches to low-income children, has enough funds to provide reimbursements for the program through March. The USDA also has enough funds to keep the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women, Infants and Children running through February. If the shutdown persists past then, Greene County residents who rely on these services may see their assistance disrupted.
County residents who are receiving Social Security, Medicaid and/or Medicare, on the other hand, will continue to receive their payments, as these programs are considered mandatory spending and are not affected by the budget impasse.


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