Social Security, Medicare, Post Office Safe During Shutdown

Little Impact Seen Here Over Trump-Congress Standoff

By BOB PALMER,
Jimplecute News Editor

With more than 800,000 federal employees sent home until Congress and President Donald Trump can reach a funding agreement, the much touted “government shutdown” has caused barely a ripple in Marion County.

“We haven’t felt anything as of yet,” County Judge Leward LaFleur said. LaFleur speculated the holidays could have delayed some actions, “or it could be we don’t have that much to do with them.” Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury departments are closed under the shutdown.

Some major federal departments like Defense, Education, Veteran Affairs and Health and Human Services have funding secured, so they won’t be affected by a shutdown, according to the Austin American Statesman.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits will be processed and issued as usual, and veteran hospitals will operate normally. The U.S. Postal Service also is not affected. Executive Director David Cleveland of Region VII Education Service Center said one of the federal jobs training programs he administers is protected at least for a few more weeks. “Workforce training programs and related programs are federally funded,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland noted, however, preparations had been made in case of a shutdown. “When this occurred last year, one of our largest funding sources is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” Cleveland explained. “The (Texas Workforce Commission) indicated they have reserve funding for four or five weeks.”

Region VII has not received notice from TWC that the reserve has kicked in, but Cleveland expects one if the shutdown extends into next week. “The expectation is we are in good shape for about a month,” Cleveland said. Six counties in Region VII have brick and mortar facilities for workforce operations, while mobile centers travel to places like Marion County.

“Marion County is still being served,” Cleveland said. “Normal training operations are continuing.” While federally funded Natural Resource Centers in Marshall and Linden did not answer the telephone on Monday and most National Parks are closed, Sean Brailey reported normal operations at Lake O’ The Pines.

“Buckhorn Creek Park is open,” Brailey said. “The other parks closed for winter. The Corps of Engineers is funded through middle of February.” Jefferson Mayor Charles (Bubba) Haggard said the shutdown has not impacted the city. “We don’t get anything from them,” Haggard said. Marion County Sheriff David McKnight has not seen any ill effect.

“We don’t deal with the feds much, anyway,” McKnight said. “Anything we did need is still available.” The Marshall Social Security office is also still open.

“We’ve not been impacted by it at all,” District Manager David Cunningham said. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, which relies on funding from the federal housing agency to help connect low-income Texans to housing, among other duties, has an assortment of plans in place to prepare for any cut in federal funding. State officials anticipate maintaining normal functions for up to 45 days of a government shutdown.

IRS employees are also furloughed, although the shutdown is not expected to last so long as to impact refunds.

 

 

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