The chief aim of the congressional Republicans who are poised to shut down the U.S. government over the next 24 hours or so is to block the implementation of President Obama’s health plan. But if they do live out their fantasy of paralyzing the federal government, there will be plenty of other consequences — including the effective shuttering of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Here’s the latest from Reuters on the looming government blackout:
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives early on Sunday passed a measure that ties government funding to a one-year delay of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare restructuring law. Senate Democrats have vowed to quash it.
If a stop-gap spending bill for the new fiscal year is not passed before midnight on Monday, government agencies and programs deemed non-essential will begin closing their doors for the first time in 17 years. …
The high-stakes chess match in Congress will resume on Monday when the Democratic-controlled Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. Senate Democrats will then attempt to strip two Republican amendments from the spending bill: the one that delays the 2010 healthcare law known as Obamacare and another to repeal a medical device tax that would help pay for the program.
And here’s some details from a story in The Hill last week that explained how the government shutdown would cripple the EPA:
Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, EPA chief Gina McCarthy said that a potential government shutdown “will mean that EPA effectively shuts down.”
“The vast majority of people at EPA will not be working,” she said. “I think it’s safe to say that I will be, but beyond that I don’t have the details.” …
McCarthy said that a small group of EPA officials would stay on the job “to keep the lights on and to respond in the event of a significant emergency,” but that most of the agency’s 17,000 employees would be sent home.
The Hill reported that the EPA’s efforts to clamp down on carbon pollution from power plants could be delayed by the shutdown. A fact that is surely not lost on the gleeful politicians behind this mess.