WASHINGTON D.C. (BRPROUD) — Congress is still at odds over how to fund the government and a shutdown is just about a day away if an agreement can’t be made. Some of Louisiana’s delegation has differing ideas about why the budget talks are being held up. If a shutdown happens, it’ll impact projects and workers in the state.
“This is not a game. We’re at work for the American people,” Rep. Troy Carter, D-Louisiana, said.
The government shutdown deadline of Saturday night is looming. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R- Louisiana, is pointing fingers at the Biden administration for delaying an agreement over border control.
“If we shut down, I think the root cause will be seen as the Biden administration’s refusal to negotiate border funding in good faith,” Cassidy said.
A temporary stopgap bill focused heavily on border security did not get enough votes in the House on Friday with 21 Republicans and all Democrats voting no. A Senate CR provided temporary funding as well as disaster recovery funds, but has not made it to the House where it is already being criticized.
“It appears that the Republican conference has turmoil within their base, which is making it very difficult to advance anything that’s reasonable,” Carter said.
Some hard-right Republican members are looking for significant cuts to government spending in these budget bills. It has proven difficult for any resolutions to be made as the different groups argue over the dollar amount and priorities.
Here in Louisiana, there are about 18,700 federal employees who will not get paid during a shutdown. They will eventually get back pay whenever the possible shutdown ends.
Cassidy said Louisianans don’t need to worry as critical services will still be available if a shutdown happens.
“For the most part, there would be little impact upon day to day life,” Cassidy said. “You can still fly. You’ll be able to get your Social Security check. You’ll still be covered under Medicare and Medicaid.”
Louisiana is currently in a fight against the saltwater intrusion in the Mississippi River. The work by the Army Corp of Engineers can continue but the country’s disaster fund has yet to be replenished. The White House put out a letter claiming the state could see 222 long-term disaster recovery projects delayed due to a shutdown.
In the Disaster Recovery Fund, there is about $2.4 billion. That money has to cover the entire nation for all disasters until Congress puts more money into it.
“The $2.4 billion will not stretch that far and absent of us moving government forward or replenishing the Disaster Recovery Fund, we will be in big trouble,” Carter said.
There are plans for votes on Saturday but it is unclear if a way to fund the government will be passed in time.