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How the looming federal government shutdown could impact Ohio

The United State Capitol
Orhan Cam
The U.S. Congress has until Sunday to prevent a government shutdown.

Tens of thousands of workers in Ohio could feel the effects of a government shutdown if the U.S. Congress doesn’t act by Sunday. A shutdown would impact millions of federal workers in sectors like national security, veterans’ affairs, food safety and farm services across the country.

Congress has been logjammed over the budget as Republicans in the House push for deep spending cuts that cannot pass in the Democratic-led Senate and force a confrontation over federal spending.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown calls the potential shutdown inexcusable.

“It directly affects at least 57,000 Ohio workers — that’s the numbers we’ve come up with — the vast will get furloughed or have to work without pay," Brown said.

Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration workers at airports like Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Akron-Canton Airport will be required to work without pay.

Employees at the NASA Glenn Research Center, the Wright Patterson Air Force Base and other air force bases in Mansfield, Toledo, Springfield and Youngstown could be impacted by a shutdown, Brown said.

"These are workers that are the foundation of Ohio increasingly becoming an aerospace state," Brown said.

A shutdown makes no sense and would hurt Ohioans, he said.

A shutdown would also impact Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Wayne National Forest. Although it's unlikely either will be completely closed off to the public, a shutdown could mean restricted parking lots, closed bathrooms and visitor centers, programming cancellations and a halt to park maintenance, as rangers could be furloughed.

The impact would also reach historic sites throughout the state, such as the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site and the First Ladies National Historic Site.

After the last shutdown, which lasted from Dec. 2018 to Jan. 2019, Congress passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which requires furloughed workers or those who worked without pay to be paid as soon as possible after the shutdown ends.

Brown voted for a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded through November, which passed the Senate Tuesday, It’s unclear if House Republicans will accept the proposal.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.