Shutdown hits home, several agencies in Southwest Louisiana close

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

A stalemate in Congress made the nation enter into a partial government shutdown Tuesday, causing several federal agencies

in Southwest Louisiana to cease operations.

Republicans and Democrats continue to

disagree over the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care

law, with open

enrollment starting Tuesday. It’s the first congressional impasse

that has ushered in a government shutdown in almost 20 years.

About 800,000 federal employees and

20,000 in Louisiana are temporarily without work. Food stamps, Medicare

and Social Security

remain funded. Veterans will still receive care. The local

Internal Revenue Service office is closed, while the post offices

remain open.

For now, Lake Charles Regional Airport will continue to operate, said Heath Allen, the airport’s executive director.

“Both the local FAA and TSA (employees) are considered essential government employees,” Allen said. “If it continues for an

extended time, impacts could be felt in terms of federal grant funds.”

However, Allen predicts no effects on travel.

The federal court in Lake Charles is

being affected. Most criminal litigation will continue without

interruption, while much

of the office’s staff working on civil litigation is being

furloughed, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s

Office. Administrative and criminal support staff are also being

furloughed, the news release said.

Some operations at Fort Polk will be reduced or closed, including the Fort Polk commissary, Army Community Service and Auto

Skill Center.

The three region’s national wildlife refuges — Cameron Prairie, Sabine and Lacassine — were closed. But Rockefeller Refuge

remains open because it is owned by the state.

As of Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats were unwavering. U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, hasn’t budged from his

position that Obamacare must be repealed.

“As a doctor, I know Obamacare is riddled with significant problems. The program needs to be stopped, as it’s simply not ready

to be implemented,” Boustany said in a news release. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama refuse

to listen to the American people, who are gravely worried about the consequences of this flawed law.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said a government shutdown will hurt the economy, stunt job creation and end up costing taxpayers

money.

“This kind of politics is reckless,

dangerous and undemocratic. Some here in Washington are too fixated on

derailing the Affordable

Care Act that was passed by the House and Senate, signed by the

president and upheld by the Supreme Court,” Landrieu said

in a statement.

“This law has been the law of the land for over 3 1/2 years and is being implemented across the country in all 50 states.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.