Coping with the government shutdown in Brooklyn

As of midnight, Tuesday, October 1, the federal government was shut down, due to disagreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate on a bill to fund the government past that date.

The House passed a bill to fund the government based on the defunding of Obamacare; the Senate then passed a bill that had no such stipulation, and sent it back to the House, which again voted to fund government operations only if Obamacare were defunded for a year. Eventually, time ran out without an agreement between the two houses of Congress, pushing the government to suspend all non-essential services. In the past, budget resolutions were not tied to other issues, and were passed without drama.

This means that many of those who work for the federal government are currently on furlough. It also means that non-essential federal services and sites, such as national parks and museums are closed until further notice. Social Security and Medicare checks will not be affected. Food stamps will continue for at least one month, but WIC programs for women, infants, and children, are shut down.

The NASA program is also shut down, except for those on mission control.

Congressional district offices are all still up and running. Constituents can contact their elected officials as usual.

In New York City, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are closed for the duration, as are several Brooklyn sites.

What does this mean for southern Brooklyn?

The National Gateway Recreation Area is closed, including Canarsie Pier, Floyd Bennett Field and the Aviator Sports and Recreation Complex.

As for the Fort Hamilton Army Base, any services that have to do with health, safety or life situations are not affected. A source close to the base said that the fort’s community club, bowling center, and sports and fitness room are still open. The children’s daycare at the base will also be open for the next 14 days, if the shutdown lasts that long.

There will still be security at the gates and the VA Medical Center is still open for business. Active military are still paid, but the civilian workforce is on furlough until further notice.

Brooklyn elected officials reacted to the shutdown with anger.

“I am disgusted and dismayed by the action – or rather, inaction – of a few, extremist Tea Party Republicans who have ground our nation to a standstill,” asserted Borough President Marty Markowitz, who contended, “The economic impact this will have on Brooklyn, from civil servants to small businesses to families in need, is sizable and frankly unnecessary. All of this commotion is due to the stubbornness of a factional wing of the GOP that hopes to achieve a pyrrhic victory by obstructing the Affordable Care Act, a law that represents bipartisan compromise and has been fully vetted legislatively and judicially. Americans expect and deserve a democracy that is of the people, by the people and for the people. The shutdown of the federal government is certainly not for the people; it is rather to satisfy a select number of radicals that would prefer chaos to common-sense.”

“This is a sad moment in our nation’s history where a band of Tea Party ideological extremists and their co-conspirators have shutdown the United States government,” agreed Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries. “Throughout America, this shutdown will needlessly hurt children, civil servants who will be furloughed without pay, veterans who courageously served our country, seniors and countless others.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.