By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The federal government shutdown is affecting about 23,000 federal workers in Indiana.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees across the U.S. will be sent home after arriving at work Tuesday and no one knows when they'll be back on the job. The first government shutdown in more than 17 years went into effect overnight Tuesday when an amendment to delay the Affordable Care Act for one year was passed in the Republican-controlled House, but denied in the Democrat led Senate.
"The Affordable Care act is moving forward. The funding is already in place. You can't shut it down," President Barack Obama said Monday.
Early Tuesday morning, the House voted 228-199 on a rule with instructions to go to conference. The Senate will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. to consider that bill, but the chamber is expected to reject it.
The shutdown could put as many as a million federal workers across the country on unpaid leave.
In Indiana, personnel such as air traffic controllers, mail carriers, and about 500 Social Security Administration employees will still be reporting to work. The U.S. mail will still be delivered with Social Security and Medicare checks still being delivered.
However, about 12,000 Indiana National Guard members not on active duty will stay home. Another 1,000 Indiana National Guard members on active duty won’t see a paycheck from the federal government until funding resumes. Governor Mike Pence’s office said the state will pay those members in the meantime, then seek reimbursement from the federal government.
In Kentucky, at least 5,000 civilian employees of Fort Knox will be furloughed.
For the typical American, the shutdown could lead experiencing delays in the processing of their federal forms and licenses. National parks will be closed.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Congress continue trading blame for the shutdown of the federal government. Indiana Senator Dan Coats, a Republican, said the President’s unwillingness to work with Congress has led to a dangerous pattern of careening from crisis to crisis.
“Americans voted for a divided government, not a nonexistent government. House Republicans sent the Senate a solution that would keep the government open and provide individuals the same relief from Obamacare that the president has given businesses,” Coats said.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) says the House was able to avoid an unnecessary shutdown all along.
“This is an unnecessary blow to America, to the economy, middle-class, everyone,” said Reid. “The House has within their power the ability to avoid the shutdown. They should simply pass the six week extension that we sent them.”
Another Republican, U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (IN-6) said shutting down Obamacare, not the government, is the will of millions of Americans.
“Our resolution will accomplish those goals while repealing the medical device tax, which is funding this bad law and killing jobs in Indiana. I hope the Senate will carefully consider this common-sense proposal,” Messer said prior to the Senate’s defeat of the amendment Monday night.