With a possible shutdown looming, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal is predicting the Republican Party will once again take the heat for Congress’ failure to fund government services by October 1st.
Calling it a self-induced crisis by the GOP, the veteran Springfield Democrat says most Republicans who are backing a government shutdown in order to de-fund President Obama’s signature health care law, were not serving in Congress in the mid-1990s, the last time the government shutdown. But Neal says if it happens again, the public will begin to feel the impact in a number of ways.
“While many essential agencies, as they’re known in the federal government, will be hampered but not eliminated or not shut down, there will be other parts of the federal government including the National Parks, which conceivably will be shuttered or closed for long periods of time,” Neal says. “You can see employees who are deemed not to be essential, although we know they are essential, could be laid off. You could see the military conceivably paid in IOUs. I think that is a reminder of how irresponsible this moment is if we get to it.”
A far more serious matter, Neal says, is the upcoming showdown on the debt ceiling and U.S. credibility. While many sectors of the economy are beginning to improve, he says the continuing fight to raise the debt limit makes industries nervous about hiring, further slowing down what he calls a jobless recovery.
“The damaging part of the debt ceiling showdown is not just the consequence of not paying America’s bills, but it’s the uncertainty that comes with it,” he says.
Neal, however, says he’s remaining hopeful that cooler heads in Congress will prevail and avert both crises.