By Patric Hedlund
Lake of the Woods resident June Ramsey called to say she went to the Chuchupate Ranger Station Tuesday, Oct. 1 and was surprised to see a sign on the door reading: “Due to government shutdown, this facility is closed….”
A call to Chuchupate yielded the familiar baritone voice on the answer machine with the usual opening: “Remember, only you can prevent forest fires. Thank you for calling the Mt. Pinos Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest….”
But that was followed by an unusual message: “We are not in the office at this time due to the lapse in federal funding. We will return to our offices as soon as possible once federal funding has been restored. For information about availability of government services, visit USA.gov. Woodcutting information will be posted in the Chuchupate front office window by 10 a.m. daily. Thank you.”
Until midnight on September 30, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives demanded that the Affordable Care Act be postponed for a year or else—Congress said—it would not approve a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded. Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the move “hostage taking.” Senators refused to capitulate. They sent the continuing resolution back to the House without the amendment to postpone the Affordable Care Act. The House dug in its heels.
President Barack Obama told interviewers, “That would set a terrible precedent for the future of democracy in this country, to say, ‘If I don’t get my demands about legislation, I’ll burn down the house….'” At 12:01 a.m., the federal government went into shutdown mode.
Medicare and Social Security checks will still go out this week and the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering mail. Active duty military personnel will be paid.
At the Mt. Pinos Ranger District, firefighters and Acting District Ranger Roy Morris are still on the job, we discovered.
In Washington, D.C. and across the country, federal buildings and ‘nonessential’ federal offices shut down.
Across the country, the first day of October also marked the first day that the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges opened up on the internet. That took place as scheduled. In California, go to coveredca.com to see if you may benefit.
This is part of the October 4, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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