As your representative in Washington, I am working with Republicans and Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.  Democrats believe we must cut spending, and that it can be done without hurting American families and workers.  But so far, Republicans have refused to compromise, even though Democrats have agreed to 70 percent of their proposed spending cuts.

The Republicans’ proposal, which failed in the Senate, will take our nation in the wrong direction by cutting investments that allow us to out-build, out-innovate, and out-educate our competitors.  According to non-partisan experts, it would cut hundreds of thousands of jobs. We can cut spending without cutting jobs, ending Medicare or slashing Pell grants for college students. I remain hopeful that a compromise can be reached to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

This week, my efforts to offer a clean continuing resolution that would have kept the government open while we resolve the few remaining issues, were rejected multiple times by the majority.

According to the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, a shutdown would have a dramatic impact here in our State:

  • A two-week federal shutdown could reduce Maryland income tax revenues by as much as $40 million if federal workers residing in Maryland do not receive retroactive pay for the shutdown days.
  • Additional State revenue losses are anticipated from the furloughing of federal contractors working in Maryland.
  • A two-week loss of income for federal workers is projected to reduce spending on taxable goods by more than $160 million – impeding our State’s economic recovery.

I remain hopeful that a shutdown can still be prevented; I will work hard to avoid that unnecessary outcome.  However, my offices have received many calls from my constituents and I wanted to make the following information available to you regarding government services in the event a shutdown does unfortunately occur.

These critical services would not be affected:

  • Social Security checks for seniors, people with disabilities and survivors would still go out. But new Social Security applications will likely not be processed during any shutdown, as during in the previous shutdowns.
  • Troops would continue to serve, though their pay could be put on hold.
  • Critical homeland security functions such as border security would continue.
  • The Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.
  • The FAA would keep the air traffic control system open and safe.

However, some services would likely be affected:

  • Unemployment benefits: The federal funds that help states pay the costs of their unemployment programs could be affected depending on the length of the shutdown.
  • Veterans’ services: While VA hospitals will remain open, veterans’ benefits could be delayed or reduced, as was the case during the last shutdown.
  • National parks: National parks and the National Wildlife Refuge Systems would be among the first places to close if the government shuts down. During the last shutdown.
  • Passports: Passport and visa applications will not be processed.  In the 1996 shutdown, over 200,000 passport applications and 30,000 daily visa applications went unprocessed.
  • IRS processing of tax refunds for some returns would be suspended.
  • FHA new home loan guarantees may cease.
  • SBA approval of applications for business loan guarantees and direct loans to small businesses would likely cease, impacting the engines of our economy and potentially slowing the economic recovery.
  • Farm loans and farm payments would cease.
  • Museums: National museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, would close in the event of a government shutdown.
  • Access to the U.S. Capitol: Guide and staff-led tours of the Capitol will be cancelled.  The House Gallery will remain open.

My staff and I are working hard to avoid a shutdown of our government, and we are prepared to answer any questions you may have should a shutdown occur.  If, despite our best efforts, a government shutdown does occur, my office will remain open to help our constituents to the best of our ability.

As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you, and please continue to share your concerns and insights with me by contacting my office.

With warmest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Steny H. Hoyer

This entry was published on April 9, 2011 at 1:32 am. It’s filed under Corporations and Congress, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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