RELEASE: Will the Commander in Chief of the Iowa National Guard Finally Address the GOP Call for Government Shutdown?

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For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2013

Contact:
Christina Freundlich
515-974-1709

Will the Commander in Chief of the Iowa National Guard Finally Address the GOP Call for Government Shutdown?

Des Moines – While approximately 1,000 of Iowa’s National Guard employees are preparing for an extended furlough next week, Governor Terry Branstad’s administration is downplaying the impact of a federal government shutdown. The Governor has still not addressed where he stands on the GOP’s reckless and irresponsible sabotage to our state and country’s economy.

With Governor Branstad serving as Commander in Chief for the Iowa National Guard, he should take the responsibility and address the looming government shutdown that will put Iowans out of work.  A spokesperson for the Governor claims that the Branstad Administration, “is confident Iowa will be able to withstand any potential government shutdown” – however, we haven’t heard one word from the Governor on what his plans are to avert such a crisis.

Leadership is about leading – but Iowa’s Commander in Chief is simply neglecting his duties.

Government shutdown would hit Iowa Guard

Des Moines Register // William Petroski

A federal government shutdown would be bad news for Iowa National Guard troops and Saylorville Lake campers, but Iowa’s airports would remain open, and impacts on state government operations would probably be minimal, officials say.

A federal shutdown could begin Tuesday — the start of the 2014 federal budget year — if Congress fails to pass a funding resolution. It would have wide-ranging effects on Iowa, although some federal functions would continue, including work by active-duty military and programs written into permanent law, said John Davis, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Ia., whose office distributed a memo this week on the impacts of a federal shutdown on Iowa.

Tim Albrecht, communications director for Gov. Terry Branstad, downplayed potential effects on Iowa’s state agencies.

“The Department of Management has studied any implications and is confident Iowa will be able to withstand any potential government shutdown,” said Albrecht, who didn’t provide further details.

An analysis of 119 federal agency shutdown plans by USA Today concluded that an estimated 59 percent of non-defense federal employees would be exempt from the shutdown and would go to work as usual. The list includes political appointees, law enforcement, most overseas foreign service officers and anyone else deemed necessary for health or safety of people or property.

Here’s a look at potential impacts in Iowa of a federal shutdown, based on information from congressional aides, federal officials and others:

MILITARY EMPLOYEES: Approximately 1,000 full-time Iowa National Guard employees would be furloughed. In addition, the Guard could have to cancel training and other duties, which could affect an additional 7,500 or more soldiers and airmen. There could also be problems with contracting and purchasing, depending on the length of a shutdown. Camp Dodge would remain open, as well as Air Guard bases in Des Moines and Sioux City, but all would have reduced operations, said Col. Gregory Hapgood Jr., a Guard spokesman. Military reservists could also see drilling scrapped.

MILITARY PAY: While active-duty troops would remain on duty, they would not be paid until the shutdown ends.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL: In 1995, the last time there was a government shutdown, about half the 6,200 workers at the Rock Island Arsenal, a military manufacturing facility in the Quad Cities, were put on hiatus. The Arsenal currently employs 4,746 civilian workers, and Arsenal leadership has stated that “a large number of our civilian employees” could be furloughed, according to Braley’s office.

RESERVOIRS: Operations of the gates and other water control features on federal dams at Saylorville, Red Rock and Coralville would continue if a federal shutdown occurs, said Ron Fournier, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But all other functions would cease, including activities at recreation sites, campgrounds and visitor centers at the Corps’ reservoirs and on the Mississippi River. Activities at Lake Rathbun in southern Iowa would be similarly affected. All users would be asked to leave the properties before a shutdown.

FEDERAL PARKS, PUBLIC PLACES: Iowa has some public spaces managed by the federal government where facilities could be closed, including the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site at West Branch, and Effigy Mounds National Monument near Marquette in northeast Iowa.

FEDERAL MORTGAGES: The Federal Housing Administration could be unable to insure new home loans. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2013, the FHA guaranteed 7,085 new home loans in Iowa.

IOWA AIRPORTS: Air traffic controllers are exempt from a federal shutdown and would remain on the job, allowing Iowa’s airports to continue operating for commercial flights.

FEDERAL BUILDINGS: The General Services Administration is awaiting guidance from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., to determine the impact, if any, to the operations of its federal facilities and courthouses in Iowa, said GSA spokeswoman Angela Brees. The GSA provides space for about 2,500 federal employees and contractors in Iowa, including 1,300 in Des Moines.

PASSENGER TRAINS: Amtrak, which operates the California Zephyr and Southwest Chief trains in southern Iowa, would continue normal operations of its national intercity and high-speed passenger rail network in the event of a short-term federal government shutdown, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. Amtrak receives federal funds, but it operates as a for-profit corporation.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Checks for current recipients would continue. New beneficiaries could be prevented from receiving payments. In all of 2011, Iowa had 34,424 new Social Security beneficiaries.

POSTAL SERVICE: Mail delivery would continue because the U.S. Postal Service isn’t funded with taxpayer money.

SMALL-BUSINESS LOANS: Dozens of Iowa small businesses could quickly lose access to federal loans, and the number could grow. The Small Business Administration’s offices in Iowa process 30 to 40 small business and economic development loans weekly.

DISASTER RECOVERY: Employees with the Federal Emergency Management Agency who are funded by annual appropriations could be furloughed, although there is an exception for employees needed to protect life and property.

VETERANS SERVICES: Under a shutdown plan drafted in 2011, the Veterans Administration would not be able to process new beneficiaries. Also, veterans benefits administration regional offices would have limited availability, and no decisions on claims appeals or motions would be issued.

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