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Shutdown hits home, several agencies in Southwest Louisiana close

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 10:07 AM

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 Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, hasn’t budged from his position that Obamacare must be repealed.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.

Posted By: Theresa On: 10/3/2013

Title: Obama Care / Government Shutdown

Has the Senators and Congressman's checks been stopped. Take their income away and make them pay for their own insurance and see how well it turns out for them.

Posted By: Deana On: 10/2/2013

Title: obama and act

If this has been law for 3 and a half yes then why do ppl think ts not ready to be implemented. They have had years to prepare. So why are ppl so quick to blame Obama for something that is already law. I believe they are not agreeing with Obama as a stall static to get the law overturned because they never wanted it in the first place. The insurance premiums r suppose to b cheaper for individuals but there is a flaw and that is that with jindal refusing to implement expansion of medicaid funds people in Louisiana will not get any assistance with their premiums or copays and therefore making those who can't really afford the lowers cost insurance still in a financial bind. I did a calculation on the site and it says I am way below the poverty level and cannot get assistance with insurance discounted but have to pay full price at the marketplace. Yes it is cheaper but still if u have low income, and other bills it puts a financial strain on people. This law was implemented in another state and works great. Our state will suffer not because of Obama but because of bobby jindal.

Posted By: Melvin Miller On: 10/2/2013

Title: Shutdown Hits Home

This is a result of the position supported by our own Governor. This tells me that his priority is to support the Tea Party position over the needs of the people of Louisiana. I have to say that Mr. Vitter and Mr. Boustany are of the same ilk. It any disdain or disappointment is felt in Louisiana, we need look no further than our Governor, Senator and Congressman.

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