ATLANTA — Some federal government services in Georgia ground to halt Saturday morning after Congress failed to reach a short-term budget deal, prompting furloughs across the nation and furious finger pointing on Capitol Hill.
The Senate needed 60 votes to advance the temporary spending measure late Friday night but got only 50, as Democrats sought protections for “Dreamers,” or immigrants who were brought here as children without authorization. The failure to reach a compromise triggered the first government shutdown since 2013.
Here is what is happening in Georgia as a result of the shutdown:
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, an economic powerhouse for coastal Georgia that employs nearly 4,400 civilian employees and nearly 19,700 uniformed service members, announced Saturday that military personnel would not be furloughed, though some services would be stopped.
For example, the Soldier Family Assistance Center, Survivor Outreach Services, Employment Readiness, Relocation Assistance and Civilian Personnel Advisory Center services were halted Saturday.
“A limited number of pre-designated Department of the Army employees will continue operations and provide installation support,” the military installations said in a statement. “All Department of the Army civilians and contractors will report to work Monday, Jan. 22, and fill out required paperwork prior to being furloughed.”
At the same time, the military emphasized it is ready to deploy troops, if needed.
“3rd Infantry Division's ability to deploy Soldiers in support of worldwide missions remains intact,” Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield said in their statement Saturday. “1st Armored Brigade will continue deployment preparation activities as scheduled.”
Officials at Fort Benning, a sprawling military installation near Columbus, said this week that a “limited number of pre-designated personnel” would continue working and the rest would “maintain close contact with their supervisors for specific up-to-date instructions.”
The National Park Service, which operates some popular historic attractions in Georgia, said its parks would “remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures.”
“However, services that require staffing and maintenance, such as campgrounds and full-service restrooms, will not be operating,” National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said. “The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation's capital will find war memorials and open-air parks open to the public.”
Channel 2's Lauren Pozen went to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, where a sign posted told visitors that they could not fully staff the park due to the shutdown.
Contingency plans for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a huge footprint in Atlanta, show the agency is supposed to furlough about 8,400 of its employees – or 65 percent – during shutdowns.
Georgia's two Republican senators, who voted for the short-term budget bill Friday, blamed Democrats for its demise.
“This Schumer Shutdown is absolutely ridiculous,” Sen. David Perdue said, referring to Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. “It is totally irresponsible for the Democrats to use government funding as a bargaining chip.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson said it was “time to stop the theatrics and get to the business of governing.”
“Shutting down the government is the wrong solution,” he said, “and always causes bigger problems in the end.”
Schumer called the situation “Trumpshutdown.”
“There is no one who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.
Trump took his own shots on Twitter.
“Democrats are far more concerned with illegal immigrants than they are with our great military or safety at our dangerous southern border,” Trump tweeted. “They could have easily made a deal but decided to play shutdown politics instead.”
Check back here for more developments throughout the day.
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