Federal shutdown could affect 9,000 workers in CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Federal shutdown could affect 9,000 workers in CT


U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says about 9,000 federal workers in Connecticut, including some of his own staff, could face job furloughs if the federal government shuts down.

Members of Congress were taking the federal government to the brink of a shutdown because of a budget dispute over President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

Some taxpayers told Eyewitness News they are frustrated at the bickering in Washington, DC, and some workers said they are worried about the potential government shutdown.

"I feel if American citizens can handle their own home finances, I feel the federal government should be able to as well," said Marco Franchi, of Oxford.

Habco in Glastonbury makes ground support and tests equipment for aircraft, and roughly half of the company's business relies on government contracts.

"When I have manufacturer say in order to meet this demand you need to add two people to this department or three people," said Brian Montanari, CEO of Habco. "I can't in my right mind add that many people if I am concerned about when these orders can come in."

Montanari said the sequestration has already hurt his business and the threat of a government shutdown has created lots of uncertainty. School survival and rescue kits, made by Habco Industries are ready to go, but are not being shipped out, Montanari said.

"We are going to lose hundreds of jobs, maybe thousands as a result of a lengthy government shutdown if it occurs," said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal attended a press conference at Habco Monday, before heading back to Washington, DC for the vote, where he and other senate Democrats rejected Republican efforts to defund Obamacare.

Murphy said Monday the looming shutdown could also affect the tens of thousands of private sector workers in the state whose jobs rely on federal defense contracts.

While the work won't end, Murphy predicted it will slow down, hurting profits of major employers like helicopter-maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

Murphy also predicted dozens of Head Start programs for low-income Connecticut children would have to close if a deal isn't reached before the new fiscal year begins.

Some federal services will be impacted by the government shutdown, including getting a passport and some government loans may be delayed.

However, air travel will not change because federal air traffic controllers will remain on the job. Mail delivery will also continue and federal courts will stay open.

After 10 business days, federal employees will begin furloughs for all work not considered essential.

First-time homebuyers in some states could be impacted, but in Connecticut, Eyewitness News has learned that won't be the case because loans can be written and approved without federal money.

There is a concern that food stamps for women and children could be affected. They could be at risk for not getting healthy supplemental foods and may be referred to food pantries.

Veterans programs would still be offered, but disability benefits could take longer to be approved, if someone is appealing a denial.

However, a drill for the Connecticut National Guard scheduled for this weekend was canceled and will be rescheduled. None of the 540 National Guard technicians will be paid for the drill weekend, until the drill will be made up.

All drill weekends after this one are pending due to status of the government.

On Tuesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released a statement on the government shutdown.

"Again, I call on House Republicans to stop this irresponsible behavior and pass a clean continuing resolution that funds the government and increases the statutory debt cap. Then they should work with the President and the Senate towards a long-term, balanced and bipartisan plan that responsibly reduces the deficit while preserving our national priorities and ensures the credit worthiness of the United States. Yesterday the nation's governors sent a bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders to that effect. House Republicans would be wise to heed our call made on behalf of all Americans," the statement read.

To read the full bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders, click here.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.