Government shutdown affects local entities - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Government shutdown affects local entities

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WSIL -- Wednesday was day five of the partial government shutdown. The shutdown has left more than 420,000 federal employees across the nation without a paycheck throughout the holidays. 

The shutdown began early Saturday morning after President Donald Trump put his foot down on his demand to fund a $5 billion dollar border wall.

Wednesday was also the first full day of business since the shutdown began. 

Employees at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge spent Wednesday shutting down their operations. Employees were placed on furlough while awaiting lawmakers in Washington to agree on a decision of a border wall. 

If you call the refuge or the Shawnee National Forest, you'll get their answering machine. 

"You've reached the Shawnee National Forest Supervisor's office," the voicemail greeting reads. "We are not in the office at this time do to the lack of government funding."

The National Park Service and the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service are two of many government entities affect by this weekend's federal government shutdown. 

President Donald Trump was asked on Wednesday how long the shutdown is going to last. 

"Whatever it takes. I mean, we're going to have a wall. We're going to have safety, we need safety," President Trump said.

Congress had until midnight on Friday to pass spending bills for seven federal agencies or approve a stopgap spending measure. 

Public Affairs Specialist for the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chuck Traxler, says employees at Crab Orchard spent Wednesday closing down the facilities. 

"We just have essential staff there to keep an eyes on things and maintain federal property," Traxler said. "The facilities are not going to be maintained, so the restrooms and visitor center will be closed and not available for use."

Although the visitors center and restrooms are closed at Shawnee National Forest and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, both are still open to the public. Boat ramps and fishing piers will also remain open at Crab Orchard throughout the shutdown. 

Compared to other government shutdowns, this time the United States Postal Service, Department of Veterans Affairs and entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps will continue to be open. 

Some United States Department of Transportation programs are impacted due to the shutdown. A spokesman from the Illinois Department of Transportation said in a statement to News 3: 

The Illinois Department of Transportation does not anticipate any impacts to highway projects. The department will continue to receive federal funds as normally it does. Project engineering, construction and maintenance will proceed uninterrupted. We expect a similar impact to aviation, transit and safety programs as well.  We will continue working with the state's congressional delegation to monitor.

 Only one of the five branches of government are affected by the partial government shutdown. 

The Coast Guard is funding by the Department of Health Services, while the other four are funding by the Department of Defense. 

News 3 spoke to a McLeansboro native, who's a veteran and CEO of Sea Service Family Foundation, about what this lack of paycheck does to those serving our country. 

"When something like this happens, it is not a combat related issue," Michael Little said. "This is just Coast Guard members doing their everyday job and now they aren't getting paid. Our country is adding a burden to these service members."

Lawmakers are set to be back on Thursday to continue funding talks with President Donald Trump to fully reopen the government and build the border wall. 

Click here to see the note posted at the top of Shawnee's National Forest website. 

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