Government shutdown could affect East Valley, Arizona organizations - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Government shutdown could affect East Valley, Arizona organizations

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Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:45 pm

Several nonprofit and for-profit organizations with East Valley ties expect to feel the effects of an extended closure of the federal government.

The shutdown, which began Tuesday, was caused by an impasse in Congress due to a disagreement between the Senate and House of Representatives over raising the debt ceiling. As a result, several agencies considered nonessential have closed — even websites belonging to NASA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are no longer operating — along with the funding they provide for local organizations.

Here are a few services and businesses that will and will not be affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Affordable Care Act: Although the implementation of Obamacare is a driving force behind the impasse, the shutdown has not affected the health care exchanges. Arizonans can enroll in the program by visiting healthcare.gov.

Food banks: United Food Bank CEO Bob Evans said the shutdown will put a dent in the funding the organization receives from the Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. Run by the Department of Agriculture, Evans said the food bank uses the money to acquire and deliver food to its clients.

If the shutdown continues, Evans said the food bank will reallocate resources to ensure people get the supplies they need, although the long-term ramifications remain unknown.

“It won’t be the end of the world for us, but it would hurt the people who need it most,” he said.

US Airways/American Airlines merger: According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department has requested a delay in the trial involving the Tempe-based airline and its Dallas-area counterpart as a result of the government shutdown.

Local businesses with government contracts: Boeing spokesperson Meghan McCormick said the company, which produces Apache Helicopters in Mesa, is maintaining its normal production for now, but is waiting to see if it will interrupt its operations.

“In short, we’re monitoring it closely,” she said.

Initial attempts to contact Orbital Sciences, which has facilities in Gilbert and Chandler and works closely with NASA, were unsuccessful. But with most NASA services and operations currently halted, a prolonged shutdown could conceivably affect Orbital’s satelite manufacturing efforts in Gilbert.

National parks: National parks whose access is controlled by either gates or entrance stations, for example the Grand Canyon, have closed during the shutdown. State parks will remain open, as will national parks without restricted access.

Arizona National Guard: The shutdown has led to the closure of some parts of the service, and some members of the guard are placed on furlough for the time being.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or emungenast@evtrib.com

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