FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The regular routines will continue at the federal prison in Danbury, but the rangers at Weir Farm National Historic Site will close down the 60-acre property on the Wilton/Ridgefield border after the federal government shut down at midnight.
Fairfield County residents on Tuesday are left to deal with the ramifications of the government shutdown -- the first one in 17 years -- and how it affects them.
The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate failed to compromise on an emergency spending bill before the midnight deadline. But ultimately, Congress remained deadlocked over Republican efforts to use a temporary spending bill to delay implementation of President Barack Obama's health-care law.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Greenwich who represents the 4th District, issued a list to his constituents on how services will be affected during the shutdown:
- Social Security checks will still go out, although there will be delays in the processing of new enrollees.
- Medicare will remain up and running, and seniors will continue to get their benefits.
- Passport offices will be closed except for emergency services.
- Mail will be delivered and post offices will be open.
- Members of the military will be paid with IOUs until the shutdown is over, when they will receive pay retroactively.
- Air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors will remain on the job.
- National parks, zoos, and museums will be closed to visitors.
- New gun permits will not be processed, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be shut down.
- The Small Business Administration will be unable to guarantee loans.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development will be unable to honor Community Development Block Grants to state and local governments.
- The Federal Housing Administration will be unable to endorse any single-family mortgage loans or process and approve new multifamily loans.
- About 800,000 federal workers deemed nonessential -- including 9,000 in Connecticut as well as many on the staffs of congressmen and senators -- will be placed on furlough, resulting in a loss of $1 billion a week in wages to them.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat who represents the 5th District including Danbury, slammed the government shutdown before it began.
"A fringe minority in Washington are putting our nation’s economy and recovery at risk. You have every right and reason to be frustrated by this dysfunction. I won’t abandon my values, but I stand ready to be a part of a good faith effort to move forward some commonsense solutions that do right by our economy and put the American people first," she said in an email to constituents.
She praised the start of enrollment Tuesday in the state’s health insurance marketplace, Access Health Connecticut, which can be found online, as part of the health care reform.
"This is great news for individuals, families, and small businesses who can begin signing up for new health insurance options," she said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also blasted the efforts to stop the health care reform.
“Threatening the U.S. economy to, in essence, deny affordable and secure health care coverage to millions of American citizens is unconscionable. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land," Malloy said. "It was duly enacted after Congress passed it. It survived constitutional challenge when it was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court. It survived legitimate political challenge when Americans re-elected President Obama and every Senator on the ballot who voted for the bill.
"But rather than recognize the clear intent of the voters, House Republicans have pursued a reckless fringe agenda that is holding our economy hostage. For the good of the country, this must stop."
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal blasted the government shutdown late Monday from the floor of the Senate. Watch his statement here on The Daily Voice.