The Government Is Open Again…Now What?

The Government Is Open Again…Now What?

by Scott Klinger, 10/18/2013

Just after midnight on Oct. 17, President Obama signed legislation that avoided a dangerous default and reopened the government after the third-longest government shutdown in history. Under the terms of the deal, the government was funded through Jan. 15, 2014, and the debt limit was extended until Feb. 7, 2014.

A 29-member bipartisan conference committee, heavily weighted toward Senate representatives, was established and charged with developing budget recommendations by Dec. 13. Given the recent failures of such efforts to resolve differences between the House and Senate, the chances of success this time around are slim, suggesting another potential showdown after the holidays. As the committee begins its work, it is clear that the next couple of months will be an intense time full of opportunities to influence both policy and public opinion. Continue reading “The Government Is Open Again…Now What?”

Area government workers frustrated by shutdown

Plenty of ‘real work’ isn’t getting done, they say

October 06, 2013

Mike Mikulka, a senior environmental engineer for the EPA, does yard work at his home in Crystal Lake while the governement shutdown keeps him out of work.

Mike Mikulka, a senior environmental engineer for the EPA, does yard work at his home in Crystal Lake while the governement shutdown keeps him out of work. (Keri Wiginton, Chicago Tribune)

Mike Mikulka was supposed to spend last week in Marinette, Wis., overseeing a $110 million project to clean up the Menomonee River, which is contaminated with arsenic.

An environmental engineer in the Chicago office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mikulka never made it to the site. He was sent home from work Tuesday, with a phone number to call to find out when he could return. The river cleanup, which is being handled by a private company, continued without him.

“Basically, it’s being done without (EPA) oversight,” Mikulka said. Continue reading “Area government workers frustrated by shutdown”

Government Shutdown 2013: What’s changing, what’s not

Government Shutdown 2013: What’s changing, what’s not

By The Associated Press
October 1, 2013 – 07:05 am

WASHINGTON (AP) – Campers in national parks are to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections will be suspended and panda-cams will go dark at the shuttered National Zoo.

Those are among the immediate effects when parts of the government shut down Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.

In this time of argument and political gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that appears to have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll out to keep essential services running and numb the impact for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be felt in day-to-day lives and in the economy as a whole.

A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably won’t: Continue reading “Government Shutdown 2013: What’s changing, what’s not”

Sequestration could be bad for your health

POSTED: Sunday, March 3, 2013, 5:05 AM
Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., Professor, Earle Mack School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health

With no deal in Washington to stop it, the sequestration of federal funds is about to begin. It could be enough to make you sick – literally.

Some of the automatic budget cuts won’t be felt for months, if sequestration lasts that long. But several cuts involving health care will hit us much sooner. And they could hit us hard.

Here are five to be especially concerned about. (Figures for their impacts this year in Pennsylvania are available here.) Continue reading “Sequestration could be bad for your health”