Alaska lawmakers react to U.S. government shutdown
Many were hoping it wouldn't happen, but it did. As the State of Alaska continues to try and work out a $2.5 billion budget deficit, it will also have to deal with a federal government shutdown.
State economist Neal Fried said Friday night that a longer shutdown could be significant.
"If it were to last an extended period of time, it would impact us more than most places," Fried said. "We rank in the top three (states) receiving federal funds. We rank very high on a per-capita basis for the number of federal civilian employees. Even looking at our state budget, a lot of that comes from the federal government these days."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski also reacted late Friday night. A staffer told KTVA before the midnight deadline that Murkowski was on the Senate floor trying to get colleagues to come together and "do anything and everything" to resolve something before the midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.
“Shutting down the government is no way to govern. It is disruptive, harmful, wasteful, and impacts the thousands of Alaskans who are federal employees, contractors and all who rely on the services provided by our federal agencies,” Murkowski said in a statement after the deadline. “I will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in the House to get the government back open as fast as possible.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young blamed Senate Democrats for the shutdown.
“Tonight, we saw a manufactured crisis officially turn into a government shutdown – something that was absolutely preventable," Sullivan said in a statement. "The bipartisan bill we considered tonight, which funded the government until February 16th, was voted down not for the items it contained, but for what was not included – a long term agreement on immigration for which we still have weeks to resolve."
"As Dean of the House, I have experienced more than a dozen shutdowns and quite frankly, they aren’t the answer," Young said. "Shutting down the government is incredibly irresponsible and a misguided strategy."
According to Murkowski, essential services like Social Security, the Transportation Security Administration and air traffic control will still be funded and function uninterrupted during the shutdown. The military will still report for duty and the U.S. Postal Service will continue delivering mail.
Murkowski voted in favor of a measure to extend federal funding until Feb. 16.
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