Placerville community member provides local perspective on Federal government shutdown impacts

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Placerville community member provides local perspective on Federal government shutdown impacts

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Government Shutdowns Have Real Impacts on Real People In our Community

January 22, 2019
By Lauren Hernandez
Placerville, CA

It has now been over a month since the federal government entered a partial shutdown, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the nation furloughed or working without a pay check in sight. Think this shutdown only impacts Washington D.C. or dense city centers? Think again.

Government shutdowns have real impacts on real people. Trust me, I know from first-hand experience in the 2013 federal government shutdown. Just weeks after my husband, a military veteran, had undergone a major surgery that left him in a wheel chair, I was furloughed from my federal job. As if life hadn’t become stressful enough navigating a new normal of me being the sole provider for our family and also the sole caregiver for my husband, we didn’t know when my next paycheck would come. The shutdown in 2013 lasted for 16 days.

When I think of my county, El Dorado County, and the residents we tend to rally behind, I think of Veterans, small businesses, and law enforcement. When I think of some of the greatest challenges impacting our community, I think of access to affordable housing, healthcare access, and stewardship of our forest lands. The shutdown impacts all of these residents and threatens to send us backwards on any progress we’ve accomplished tackling our greatest challenges.

While the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD) are not directly impacted by the current shutdown, do not be fooled, Veterans and servicemembers are feeling the strain. From our Coast Guard servicemembers relying on food banks and short-term loans to make ends meet, federal law enforcement working without pay, to Veterans who have chosen to continue service to their country as civilian employees in our federal government – the strain of this political fight is shamefully falling on their backs. Just hop on Facebook and search some of the local resident chat pages and you will find a family reaching out for resources after the main financial provider for the family, also a military veteran, was furloughed from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). This family is now fearful of losing the roof over their head and stressed to keep food on the table. They are not alone. A coalition of Veteran Service Organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has called for an immediate end to the shutdown due to the harm it is causing on Veterans and our Coast Guard. Meanwhile, Congressman Tom McClintock waited until the 19th day of the shutdown to send a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) requesting that his paycheck be withheld. All while those bearing the uniform of our nation had already spent nearly 3 weeks stressing about how they would make ends meet.

While some may feel our economy is strong, expert economists feel that we are in a very fragile economy likely heading for a recession within the next year. The longer this shutdown lasts, the greater the economic strain. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

(USCC) has come out calling on President Trump and Congress to end the shutdown due to the harm it is causing to the economy and businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has suspended services, manufacturers and others are facing major critical licensing/ federal approvals to sell their products, safety inspections aren’t taking place, travel delays, inability to verify I9 forms for new employees, research halted, etc. – all harmful impacts to businesses and our economy.

We are in the midst of a housing shortage and buyers that are already stressed as well as a housing market starting to see an adjustment, and now escrows, mortgage approvals and other related transactions are experiencing delays. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 11% of members reported an impact from the shutdown. Among those impacted, 13%of members reported a delay in a transaction due to IRS income verification (which is typically required for mortgage loan processing), 17 %had a delay because of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan (program for rural communities like ours), 9% had a delay due to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, 6% had a delay due to a VA loan. Some of the programs hardest hit are ones that are key tools utilized to provide access to homeownership in El Dorado County.

The harm of this shutdown reaches far and wide. We must insist that our elected representatives put an immediate end to this federal government shutdown. If you haven’t written, phoned, emailed or contacted, Congressman McClintock, please do so today and let him know, it’s time to get this matter resolved.