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Area leaders react to government shutdown

February 16, 2019

After President Donald Trump announced a temporary deal last month to reopen the federal government, what resulted since begs the question of what it means to serve the nation in the interest of good governance.

 

The deal, effective for three weeks, ended a record 35-day shutdown in which federal workers were furloughed or working without pay. Both sides of the aisle have since been negotiating over Trump’s funding request for a border wall along the U.S-Mexico border.

 

Grundy County area leaders took time to weigh in on the federal government shutdown and temporary reopening.

 

Scott Halpin, who presides as president to the Grundy County Farm Bureau, said while he’s not been impacted by the federal government shutdown, he knows of area farmers who have.

 

“Several farmers were waiting until the first of the year to go in to certify their bushels monthly facilitation payments, and without having the ability to do that, it’s pushed things off another month to get the paperwork filed,” he said. “Personally, I haven’t had to go in there. We had ours done before the first of the year.”

 

Halpin said he imagines the backlog of farmers trying to get caught up on pre-growing season work would grow, if the federal government shut down again.

 

“This time of year, going into planting season, you’re usually using the loan programs that are available,” he said. “This is the time of year you’d be getting that stuff filed and set up to do anything going into the New Year.”

 

Many farmers in the Grundy County area begin their spring planting as early as April.

 

Halpin said the federal government shutdown could impact the planting season for farmers who wanted to apply for new loans.

 

Aren Hansen, chairman of the Grundy County Republican Central Committee, said he thinks the Republican Party is not swayed one way or another by the length of the federal government shutdown. 

 

Hansen said the morale surrounding the party has “been uplifted since Trump’s been president.”

 

Hansen said he has no strong opinion on how he would feel if the federal government shut down again over the border wall.

 

“If it does, it does,” he said. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

 

Richard Joyce, chairman of the Grundy County Democrats Central Committee, said he questions how effective the existing border wall is. 

 

“There are other methods for border security,” he said. “We have drones nowadays. We have night vision. ... The wall is OK, but I don’t know how effective it would be.”

 

Joyce said it’s difficult to gauge how negotiations are going since the federal government reopened, but one thing is clear.

 

“Another shutdown would not be necessary,” he said. “I don’t think the first one was necessary.”

 

Both sides of the aisle in Washington have until Friday to reach a deal.

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