government shutdown

The Office of Government Ethics just released guidelines for federal employees during government shutdowns, about three weeks after the government reopened.

 


NPS / Kurt Moses

During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

U.S. House Democrats are holding a hearing Wednesday to look at how the Interior Department paid to keep national parks open during the partial government shutdown.

National Park Service

During the partial government shutdown, national parks remained open but did not collect entrance fees—an important source of revenue, especially for local maintenance. It's unclear how this will affect the National Park Service's budget.

© Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

As lawmakers will now try and reach a compromise with the short term lifting of the government shutdown, Wyoming lawmakers are holding firm with President Trump's demand for a wall.

Melodie Edwards

The Wyoming Department of Family Services has been working overtime to issue Wyoming families their SNAP food benefits a couple weeks early. That's because with the government saying they'll reopen, but for only three weeks, it's unclear when they'll get benefits again.

A Few APDs Filed During Shutdown - 30 Day Federal Public Posting Report
Bureau of Land Management

In an hour-long hearing Thursday, frustrated Democrats on the House Natural Resources committee called out the Trump administration for "blatant favoritism" toward the oil and gas industry. California Congressman Alan Lowenthal complained oil and gas has gone unscathed while all walks of life are feeling the pain.

As the partial government shutdown heads into its fifth week, private businesses continue to pour thousands of dollars to help keep National Parks open and accessible.

 


Yellowstone River
National Park Service

The official non-profit of the National Park Service has set up a fund to help repair parks once they reopen.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

It's the fourth week of the government shutdown, and furloughed government employees did not receive their first paycheck.

Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management is confirming that federal employees are back at work and getting paid to process drilling permits. Conservation groups are pushing back.

Flickr Creative Commons/Meal Makeover Moms

Three schools on the Wind River Reservation are offering free lunches to people affected by the government shutdown.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Parkinson

Our region has a disproportionate number of federal workers and last Friday many of them went without a paycheck for the first time under the shutdown. Thousands have turned to GoFundMe pages while others are selling their belongings on Craigslist.

U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management

Tom Meites is president of a small oil and gas company in Casper and he's planning a new project. He's begun the lengthy process with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to find new parcels for development, but has had to put it on hold.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

CASC Regions and Consortia
U.S. Geological Survey

The government shutdown is affecting federally-funded climate centers across the country, including here in our region. 

If the impasse over President Trump’s proposed border wall makes it to Saturday morning, this will be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. And it has an unlikely victim — craft beer.

Flickr Creative Commons

When the government shuts down, it can't carry through on its historic commitments to Native American tribes. The Wind River Reservation's tribes signed treaties with the government in the late 1800s, giving up vast expanses of land in exchange for health care, police services and other basic needs like food. Eastern Shoshone councilor Leslie Shakespeare said, already some seasonal transportation employees had to be laid off because of the shutdown.

cityofcody-wy.gov

The federal government has been shut down since December 21 and the city of Cody isn't feeling as impacted as the federally owned land surrounding it.

People watching Old Faithful erupt from geyser cone, Yellowstone National Park, 1948
R. Robinson / National Park Service Photo Gallery

Several illegal actions took place within national parks during the three-day government shutdown in January. In Zion National Park, a pregnant elk was poached, in Gettysburg National Military Park, a family brought in a metal detector and a drone — both of which are prohibited—and in Yellowstone, private snowmobilers went past the legal boundary to get close to the geyser Old Faithful.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

This is Wyoming Senior Senator Mike Enzi’s first year as chairman of the Budget Committee. Yet the government may still be screeching towards a shutdown in a month and Enzi may have an uphill battle to get the nation’s finances in order.

Wallpaperslot.com

A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.

The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.

The Wyoming congressional delegation split its votes on the measure to open the government and avoid a potential default.

Wyoming’s senior senator Mike Enzi was one of just eighteen senators to oppose the compromise. In a statement he called the deal "yet another promise to work on the problem tomorrow."

But Senator John Barrasso says the good in the bill outweighed the bad. 

“I don’t think it was a good deal,” Barrasso said. “I think it was important to get the government opened again, get people back to work and to avoid a default.”

The University of Wyoming has solidified plans to provide financial aid to student veterans affected by the government shutdown.

Spokesman Chad Baldwin says UW has decided to assess each vet’s case individually, and will pay for tuition, university fees and on-campus housing expenses during the shutdown and hope for federal reimbursement later.

Baldwin says that the university is committed to providing this support because of a sense of responsibility towards student veterans.

 

As the deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling nears, Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says she’s willing to raise it with no strings attached.

Republicans continue to plummet in national polls and now they’re frantically looking for ways to reopen the entire federal government. Party leaders also want to avoid being blamed for potentially defaulting on the nation's debt. 

Although she wants concessions from the White House, Congresswoman Lummis says she could support a temporary bill to extend the debt ceiling.

While some states are considering using their own money to open national parks and help underfunded federal programs which are struggling due to the federal shutdown…Wyoming will not participate.  

Governor Matt Mead says there is no doubt that the federal shutdown has far reaching implications, but his spokesman, Renny MacKay, says the state has no intention of spending state money on federal programs.            

State agencies say they continue to work on contingency plans in case key programs run out of money.

Trespassing citations have been issued to several people attempting to enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks since the federal government shutdown closed the parks.

 Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that the park is running on minimal staff, with hundreds of employees furloughed due to the shutdown.

 “We have just over a hundred national park service employees on duty on any given day during this shutdown” explains Nash “Across 2.2 million acres mind you, and hundreds of miles of road.”

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg says that veterans attending U.W. will not see their educations interrupted due to a lack of funding caused by the government shutdown.

U.W.’s director of institutional communications, Chad Baldwin, says that the university will delay billing veterans for now, but hopes to recoup costs from the federal government later.

Baldwin says university president Bob Sternberg is committed to aiding the over 400 currently enrolled veterans because of a sense of responsibility to student vets.

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