WASHINGTON, D.C. — The full effects of the first government shutdown in 17 years are being felt in West Virginia and across the United States and, as of Tuesday afternoon, there was no end to the partial closure in sight.
“This is a sad day for the people of America. It’s a sad day for our government. It’s a sad day for West Virginians,” said Third District Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) of the shutdown on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees face furloughs, tourist destinations have been closed along with many operations for the Centers for Disease Control and services like food assistance and IRS audits have been disrupted.
President Barack Obama said the shutdown would have “a very real impact on real people right away.”
Rahall blamed a minority of Republicans for holding up the spending bill that would have averted the partial government shutdown to try to force a one year delay for the individual mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Up to now, House Speaker John Boehner has refused to bring a clean continuing resolution, with no health care strings attached, to the U.S. House floor.
“The vast majority of both parties want to move forward, regardless of your position (on the health care reform law). We don’t agree on Obamacare, no, but, yes, a majority of Republicans want to get on with the continuing resolution,” said Rahall.
“This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about Republicans versus Republicans.”
Rahall said he is hoping the partial shutdown will last just a few days. “We can do this if reasonable heads would be allowed to control this political arena,” he said.
The new federal fiscal year started on Oct. 1.