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Gov. Bullock Says Government Shutdown is “Embarrassing,” Will Impact 10,000 Montana Federal Employees

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Photo courtesy of J. Stephen Conn/Flickr

As the federal government rolls back services while congress and President Obama fight over the budget, many are questioning whether or not the so called federal shutdown will have a negative impact. According to Montana Governor Steve Bullock, the answer is yes.

In a statement released during the first day of the shutdown, Bullock drew attention to the impact the shutdown is having on his state:

Montana state government is open and our employees stand ready to serve the citizens of our state. All employees are on the job today, and all Montanans should be demanding that Congress gets its act together before we have to even consider furloughing state employees who are paid partially or fully with federal dollars.

 

But don’t fool yourself into thinking that this shutdown doesn’t matter — it impacts the services we expect from our federal government and over 10,000 Montana federal employees. This morning we had to send home nearly 600 Montana National Guard soldiers and airmen who are Department of Defense employees. We sent home more soldiers and airmen than there are members of the US Senate and House of Representatives combined.

 

We can have legitimate differences over public policy, but it’s embarrassing that the greatest country in the world would shut down our government based on nothing more than political brinksmanship.

According to Montana Department of Labor and Industry Communications Director Casey Kyler-West, there are 12,380 federal employees in Montana. Of those employees, 1,276  are military personnel, which should not be directly affected by the shutdown after the military pay bill passed Monday.

Not all of the federal employees will face furlough either. Many will continue on working, but will have to wait until after a resolution to receive a paycheck for their time. For those that are furloughed, there are other options.

“We are encouraging them to file right now for unemployment insurance benefits,” Kyler-West said. “Typically, with unemployment there is a waiting week. So if they file today, this week will be considered their waiting week, so that next week they can start receiving benefits. However, we do want to mention that if they do receive back pay, that they will have to repay the benefits.”

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