There will be no interruption in U.S. Mail service due to the partial government shutdown which began Tuesday, but Warren County residents looking for farm services at the local USDA office are out of luck.
The local USDA office on the corner of the bypass and Faulkner Springs Road was closed Tuesday. A sign on the door said, “This U.S. Department of Agriculture office is currently closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding.”
Those workers are part of some 800,000 federal employees who are off the job as Congress bickers over funding for the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
Other federal employees were on the job Tuesday in McMinnville. The U.S. Postal Service was fully operational with no plans for any interruptions.
“We won’t have any changes whatsoever,” said McMinnville postmaster Brent Nunley. “We are not funded by the taxpayers. We get all our funding from the postage we sell so we will be open as usual. This is something we addressed with all our employees Monday to make sure they would show up for work on Tuesday.”
At the Social Security office on Sparta Street, workers were busy assisting customers. According to the Social Security website, field offices will remain open, although with limited services.
The website said people can continue to apply for benefits, however some services would be discontinued during the shutdown. New or replacement Social Security cards are not being issued at this time and proof of income letters are not being provided.
The government shutdown leaves more than 1,500 Tennessee National Guard military technicians and contract employees throughout the state on unpaid furlough.
Major General Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General notified employees last week of possible furloughs beginning Oct. 1.
“This is an across-the-board furlough effecting essentially every military technician and contract employee in the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard,” said Major General Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “There is no question this will cause serious hardships on our employees and degrade our ability to conduct operations.”
Closed signs could be seen at federal workplaces around the country, including Washington, D.C. attractions the Lincoln Memorial, The Smithsonian, and the National Zoo.
Congress itself was affected. Some staffers were furloughed and hearings were postponed. The U.S. Capitol canceled tours not personally led by lawmakers. Democratic Sen. Tom Carper sent an email to his Delaware constituents telling them not to expect responses to their emails and phone calls.
Lawmakers and the president were still getting paid at a rate of more than $250,000 per day. The White House was operating with a skeletal staff, including household workers taking care of the first family’s residence and presidential aides working in the West Wing.
There’s no indication when the partial government shutdown might end. The Senate rejected the House’s call to form a negotiating committee to resolve the deadlock on Tuesday.
Moments after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., laid full blame on House Republicans, declaring, “The government is closed because of the irrationality of what’s going on the other side of the Capitol.”
But Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said GOP lawmakers are listening to constituents who want to “stop the runaway train called the federal government.” Their message, he said, is “Stay strong.”
Obama communications director Jennifer Palmieri told MSNBC the White House was open to changes in the health care law in future negotiations, but not as part of passing a budget bill. She compared that to negotiating with “a gun pointed to your head.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.