Arrow-right Camera

Idahoans tell congressmen to continue shutdown

Sun., Oct. 13, 2013, 3:40 p.m.

BOISE — Idaho’s congressional delegation says their offices are receiving calls 2-to-1 in favor of continuing the government shutdown until President Barack Obama agrees to defund or delay his new health care law.

But Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry President Alex LaBeau told the Idaho Statesman ( ) that the uncertainty is killing business.

“You look at the Washington, D.C., political process right now and it appears they are only playing politics for an election, not worrying about the economy,” LaBeau said.

He said he doesn’t like the health care overhaul but trying to defund it by shutting down the government is a “foolish approach.”

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo said a deal is still possible.

“In the midst of the political battles that are being waged, there is significant negotiation going on,” Crapo said.

Republican Rep. Mike Simpson said the delegation has also heard from businesses.

“Unless and until we find the courage in Congress to forge a comprehensive solution to our budget challenges, we are going to continue flailing from one fiscal crisis to the next,” Simpson said. “The American people are ready for the tough decisions and difficult sacrifices that come with actually solving our budget crisis over the long term.”

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said he expects a deal to end the shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit. He said the deal will likely be “a patch, a scratch and a Band-Aid like it usually takes to get through.”

About 350,000 federal workers remain idle, hundreds of thousands more work without pay and an array of government services, from home loan applications to environmental inspections, are on hold due to the shutdown. In addition, many national parks and monuments remain closed, including Yellowstone National Park.

There’s also the prospect of the United States defaulting on its financial obligations Thursday if Congress fails to raise the borrowing authority above the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Most of the 11,750 federal workers in Idaho didn’t get a paycheck Friday, and thousands of contractors will face furloughs this week if the shutdown continues, the Statesman reported.

One Idaho business feeling the shutdown is Quest Aircraft Co. in Sandpoint, with about 250 employees. It makes 10-seat turboprop airplanes that can land on remote airstrips. But the company said it needs the Federal Aviation Administration to be operating.

“The immediate impact is we can’t deliver airplanes,” said spokeswoman Julie Stone. “Everything has to be processed through the FAA.”

There are 15 comments on this story »