Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Wednesday marked day two of the federal government shutdown, and there’s growing anger about it.
Congress and the President Obama still haven’t come to an agreement, and there are no signs the end will be anytime soon. Meanwhile in Minnesota, top leaders are scrambling to adjust to possible impacts at home.
On Wednesday, many people who drove to the Social Security office in Minneapolis found it closed. And they were angry about it.
“I think it’s a bunch of crap,” said one man.
For him and others, the shutdown had suddenly become real.
With no end in sight, Gov. Mark Dayton appointed a “crisis response team” to assess the impact of the federal shutdown on state operations.
When federal funds run out for school lunches, rent subsidies, Head Start, and Meals on Wheels — the state can’t replace them.
“Bad things happen when moms don’t get the payments that they have been counting on to make sure they can pay their rent,” said Tina Smith, the governor’s chief of staff. “Bad things happen. This is not just a political drama. This is affecting people.”
In Washington, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was heckled when she greeted veterans who crossed shutdown barricades to visit a war memorial.
“We just want to make sure that they get open, so that the veterans can go in and see [the memorials],” the congresswoman told Eugene Morgan, a WWII veteran, who was circled by photographers.
“He’s not an idiot,” shouted Shemaya Klar, a Washington D.C. resident. “The government shut down because of people like you, Michele Bachmann. You should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t pander to a vet.”
Minnesota can’t yet estimate the impact of the shutdown on hundreds of different programs, not to mention the economy.
But think about this: There are 18,000 federal employees in Minnesota. Many were laid off without pay. The rest are working without pay. That alone could have a devastating impact — just as the economy is recovering.