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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's time to unite before it's too late

The first federal government shutdown in 17 years has reached Week 2. The catalyst? The debt limit. The accelerant? Obamacare.

The longer this shutdown is dragged out, the longer the taxpayer will continue to suffer. This is a terrible disservice to the American people.

In the constant blame game that has become the norm in Washington, Republicans are now starting to point fingers at each other. They must get their act together! In just days, Congress is going to be faced with the decision of whether to increase the debt limit. If the House and Senate fail to increase the limit, which is now $16.7 trillion, the U.S. will not be able to pay its bills. In turn, stock prices will drop considerably, interest rates will spike and economic growth will slow to an almost complete halt.

Wall Street isn’t the only industry feeling the impact of the shutdown. Up to 1 million civilian and non-essential government workers have been furloughed. The gates and doors of many of America’s national parks and museums have been closed and locked.

Here on Long Island, about 8,000 federal workers have been furloughed. According to reports, many of them are in support or clerical positions. However, as the Long Island housing market continues to bounce back, many are concerned that federally backed FHA or V.A. loans could face lengthy delays, slowing down the recent resurgence.

The deadlock will also impact much-needed storm-recovery projects across Long Island. The Herald quoted Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dan Watson saying that “The review and approval of local recovery projects and spending plans may be delayed until the resumption of normal government activities.”

FEMA has warned that the shutdown could potentially delay the reimbursement process for the City of Long Beach, a community that is depending on public assistance grants to rebuild. According to the Herald, approximately 20 percent of the Long Beach population remains displaced. This situation isn’t unique to Long Beach — the struggles of communities all along the South Shore will be prolonged by the impasse in Washington.

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