My turn

Many federal employees kept working through shutdown

2013-10-18T00:00:00Z Many federal employees kept working through shutdownBy Thomas DeGiulio Times Columnist nwitimes.com
October 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

This column is not about the politics of what has been going on in Washington D.C. for the past few weeks. Everyone has their own opinion and like many emotional positions, no one is likely to move from their beliefs.

The U.S. House and Senate finally, with hours to spare before the U.S. reached the Federal Debt Ceiling, approved a “kick the can down the road” settlement good until after the first of the year, and President Barack Obama signed it.

In a few months it will be "déjà vu all over again." Let’s hope that our leaders in Washington can learn that government by crisis is not the way to govern. Let’s hope we get a real solution for some long-term stability.

The uncertainty is not good for consumer spending, the stock market or our position as the leader of the free world.

I want to congratulate the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who continued to work at their jobs without being paid for the past 16 days. They have been promised that they will be paid once the “shutdown” is over.

Working for IOU’s happened in the Revolutionary and Civil wars, but shouldn't happen in the 21st Century. A few weeks ago, a motorist attempted to crash the gates, first at the White House and then the Capitol. Hundreds of police responded and while, unfortunately, the motorist was fatally shot, the young child in her car was unharmed. One Capitol police pfficer was injured.

All of the officers and other federal employees that were involved were on duty without pay. At major airports, TSA agents and air traffic controllers remained on duty. If you were able to fly to your vacation destination or business appointment, you probably did not care about a shutdown, but you got to your destination because those people stayed on the job.

The shutdown of the federal government did stop many activities and shut down some sites, including the monuments at the Capital Mall and National Parks, the Center for Disease Control, Department of Agriculture Food inspectors and other agencies. We all read in the paper and saw on TV the closing of the mall and Grand Canyon.

There were hundreds of other programs affected, but they may not have an on impact on us. Often in our everyday lives, we do not think about the things that all levels of government do that impact our lives.

It takes a shutdown to show the impact. When you visit the monuments or a National Park, the people in the National Park uniforms are in the background. Without a federal government, these things do not exist for our use and enjoyment.

What will the final settlement include? Likely, it will include things that both sides do not like, but isn’t that the very definition of a compromise? It should also include a thank you to the federal employees who continue to do their job for all of us.

Tom DeGiulio is the town manager of Munster. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at tdegiulio@munster.org.

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