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Monday, September 30, 2013 - 6:45pm
EL PASO (KDBC) — The federal government is facing the risk of a shut down if congress doesn't meet tonight's midnight deadline. This measure could affect many federal employees throughout El Paso and the nation.
"If the government would shut down you would have the richest most powerful country in the world unable to pay its soldiers on time, unable to fully support their veterans on time. It is an outcome that none of us want to see," El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke said.
El Paso has several federal agencies that would be affected including Fort Bliss, Customs and Border Protection and National Parks, University of Texas at El Paso economics professor Dr. Tom Fullerton says the impact could be severe.
"Lost wages are not replaced by the government similar to what happened in 1995, those families that were affected by this are going to have to cut back on their day to day lives and it's going to impact their budgets in a negative manner," Fullerton said.
Fort bliss announced that most of their civilian employees would be furloughed, while soldiers paychecks would be frozen until an agreement is reached.
"We do understand that this does impact a lot of people and it's nothing that we haven't prepared for, we are just going through the process and hope that tonight congress is able to compromise and pass appropriation bills to fund the government so we don't have to face this for tomorrow." Fort Bliss spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lee Peters said.
El Paso congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Pete Gallego said the measure is not fair and both will refuse their paychecks.
"If we can't perform that basic function I don't think we should receive a paycheck until government shutdown on Tuesday I will not accept the paycheck until we're able to restore funding for the federal government." O’Rourke added.
Fort Bliss officials also mentioned that the post will continue to operate normally regarding security measures and will be open as regularly. It's unclear at this point exactly how many people in the borderland would be impacted.