© 2022 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Congress has until midnight Thursday to avoid a government shutdown. These Mainers could be impacted

Congress Budget
J. Scott Applewhite
The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, as Congress returns to a busy schedule and Democratic lawmakers are laboring to shoulder President Joe Biden's massive $3.5 trillion "build back better" agenda. Congress must also fund the government in the next 10 days, or risk a federal shutdown.

Congress has until midnight Thursday to pass a resolution to fund federal departments and agencies into the next fiscal year or risk a shutdown. In past shutdowns, thousands of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers were furloughed.

Among them, Mark Vigliotta, President of the local Machinist Union, who says he and his colleagues are tired of bearing the brunt of Congress's partisan battles.

"The way that DC is running business down there, it's really disappointing that they can't come to an agreement on a bipartisan compromise on a continuous resolution quickly before they come to the deadline," Vigliotta says.

A shutdown would temporarily close a number of nonessential government operations, and disrupt payments to thousands of federal workers and Social Security recipients.

Acadia National Park has 90 permanent and 200 seasonal federal workers and has endured several shutdowns in the past. Department of the Interior spokesperson Christie Anastasia says that so far park operations are expected to continue as normal. But she advises visitors to check the park's website before they come on Friday.

"We always tell people whether we are in a lapse of appropriations or not to check the website, especially with the pandemic and various state and federal mandates," Anastasia says.

Anastasia says essential park employees such as law enforcement rangers that protect life and property would stay on the job in the event of a federal shutdown, but are not paid until Congress authorizes backpay.

Democrats say they have a resolution to fund the government through early December, and the Senate could take up the bill later today or tomorrow. Both houses of Congress must approve the measure and have it signed by President Joe Biden by midnight Thursday to avoid a shutdown.

Carol Bousquet