By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The federal government shutdown is now affecting Minnesota jobs. The state will lay off 105 health department workers immediately, and thousands of other federal workers in the state will face the same fate.

And Congress appears to be standing still.

According to Congressman Erik Paulsen’s office, he skipped out on his own event Monday to head back to Washington to work on ending the shutdown.

Some disappointed constituents, like Michael Waring of Edina, said they wanted to talk with him about ending the shutdown – even if it means joining with Democrats to do it.

“I think it’s very encouraging that the possibility exists,” Waring said. “And basically one of the things that I came and wanted to say to him in person was have courage. Do the right thing.”

Across town, Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison led a shutdown rally, saying he won’t negotiate with Republicans over the Affordable Care Act or vote for piecemeal government funding.

“These people are irrational,” Ellison said.

He promises to vote for re-opening the government all at once.

“Let me vote! I wanna vote! I’m voting to re-open the government,” Ellison said.

Meanwhile, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has an online petition to re-open the government. He even compared members of Congress to hostage-takers and terrorism.

He told CNN last week that taxpayers should rise up.

“They’re shut down, and I guess my question would be: since the government shut down, that should mean we shouldn’t have to pay any taxes, right?” Ventura said.

But two women at Paulsen’s event don’t think the shutdown is such a bad thing. They say they distrust President Obama, labeling him a “Marxist” and a “socialist.”

The 105 layoff notices sent to Minnesota workers is the first wave of up to 3,000 notices to will be sent to workers whose jobs are partly paid for by federal funds.

There are 18,000 federal workers who are furloughed, or working for no pay. And there seems to be no end in sight for now. The shutdown could get worse the longer it continues.

And it appears to be morphing into the next crisis: the debate over the debt ceiling in about a week.


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