LIVE BLOG: Effects of the government shutdown in New Hampshire
A National Park Service employee posts a sign on a barricade to close access to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800, 000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., rear center, look on as Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 in Washington. Congress was unable to reach a midnight deadline to keep the government funded, triggering the first government shutdown in more than 17 years. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A partial shutdown of the federal government began at midnight, with many potential short- and long-term impacts on New Hampshire. Check back here all day Tuesday for updates on the situation in the Granite State, and see Wednesday’s Monitor for full coverage.
6:10 p.m.: Furloughs at N.H. National Guard, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Maj. Gen. William Reddel III, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard, tells the Monitor’s Megan Doyle that 332 civilian technicians are being furloughed due to the government shutdown.
“The biggest thing that we can say to them is, ‘You’ve done an outstanding job and you have done nothing wrong. Nothing in your performance warrants this kind of reaction from the United States of America,’” Reddel said.
Active-duty U.S. military personnel are remaining on the job, as “essential” workers, and getting paid.
At the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, meanwhile, about 1,520 of the facility’s 4,600 civilian employees are being furloughed, according to spokesman Gary Hildreth.
“Those being furloughed provide necessary support to the shipyard’s mission of overhauling, repairing and modernizing the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet,” reads a Q&A prepared by the shipyard. “A government shutdown would place significant additional hardships on our workforce which has already been strained by recent administrative furloughs.”
4 p.m.: Nuclear regulator says it’ll begin reducing operations in a week
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the nation’s nuclear power plants, has enough money to continue normal operations for about a week.
“When NRC appropriations no longer support normal operations, the NRC plans to operate at a reduced level for some period of time and begin a minimal maintenance and monitoring mode in which the NRC will continue to carry out its responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public,” the agency announced today in a message to “stakeholders.”
For the duration of the federal government shutdown, the NRC said it will continue certain critical functions including “oversight at nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities by resident inspectors.”
2:30 p.m.: White Mountain National Forest sending most rangers home
Relax, leaf-peepers. Unlike the national parks, New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest isn’t closing while much of the federal government shuts down.
But most of the forest’s staffers are being sent home this afternoon, “and they will not be returning to work,” said forest spokeswoman Tiffany Benna.
She added, “At this point, we are looking at suspending timber-sale contracts and other contracts, and we will be closing some of the recreation facilities where we cannot guarantee the health and safety of our visitors.”
Benna said more closure details should be available later today or tomorrow morning.
1:55 p.m.: For N.H. businesses, shutdown means no SBA-backed loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration runs a number of programs to help small and start-up companies borrow money, including direct lending and loan guarantees.
In New Hampshire, 441 SBA loans totaling $89.5 million were made during the first 11 months of the fiscal year that ended midnight Monday, according to the Capital Regional Development Council.
Now, with the federal government’s partial shutdown, the SBA has stopped processing applications for loans and loan guarantees, potentially throttling the flow of capital to small businesses in New Hampshire and across the country.
“Any lending program where a federal staff person has to make a decision is no longer occurring,” said Stephen Heavener, CRDC’s executive director.
There are a handful of exceptions, such as SBA disaster loans, “but that doesn’t drive the New Hampshire economy,” Heavener said. “Small business lending drives the New Hampshire economy.”
The freeze doesn’t include home-loan programs run by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs; USA Today reports those programs will continue despite the shutdown.
12:08 p.m.: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, victim of the shutdown
The Cornish home of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens is closed today.
New Hampshire has no national parks, but the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish is operated by the National Park Service.
That means it’s closed, along with 400 other parks and sites run by the service, under the agency’s shutdown plan (PDF).
11:22 a.m.: Neither rain nor snow…
The U.S. Postal Service “is operating normally during the federal government shutdown,” according to its website.
11 a.m.: N.H. planes, trains unaffected by government shutdown
Amtrak’s Downeaster train — which runs between Boston and Brunswick, Maine, with New Hampshire stops in Exeter, Durham and Dover — isn’t a casualty of the federal government’s partial shutdown.
“Amtrak will continue normal operation of its national intercity and high-speed passenger rail network in the event of a short-term federal government shutdown,” Amtrak said Monday in a pre-shutdown press release. “Passengers planning to travel on Amtrak trains in the Northeast Corridor and across the country in the coming days and weeks can be assured that Amtrak will remain open for business.”
As for air travel, most Transportation Security Administration employees remain on the job even during a shutdown, along with the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic controllers, according to Reuters.
That means flights in and out of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and other area airports haven’t been affected today.
“TSA hasn’t been affected. Air traffic controllers haven’t been affected,” said J. Brian O’Neill, deputy director at the Manchester airport. “The operation of the airport hasn’t been impacted at this time.”
10:45 a.m.: For now, federal court in Concord remains open
For now, at least, the U.S. District Court in Concord is open despite the government shut down.
“In the event of a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States District Court, Rudman Courthouse and Cleveland Federal Building will remain open for business. … All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, unless otherwise advised,” according to an announcement on the court’s website.
But that could change if there’s no agreement within 10 business days, the court warned.
10:10 a.m.: Hassan says state government “will continue to operate”
The federal government is partially shut down this morning, but Gov. Maggie Hassan says it’s business as usual — mostly — for the state government.
“The state of New Hampshire will continue to operate, carrying out the normal functions of state government, although there may be some disruption in individual programs that are not yet funded,” she said in a statement.
Hassan, a Democrat, also expressed frustration with Congress over the shutdown,
“I join the people of New Hampshire in their frustration over Congress’ inability to pass a clean continuing resolution to avert a shutdown of the federal government. The federal government shutdown will damage our economy and cause unnecessary hardship to New Hampshire families,” Hassan said. “It is simply unconscionable that, at the expense of the needs of our people, some members of Congress have chosen to put their extreme ideology first and continue to fight battles they have already lost.”
(CORRECTION, 4:25 p.m.: An earlier version of the 10:45 a.m. item gave an incorrect timeline for federal courts reassessing whether to stay open.)
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)