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No Government Shutdown for Christmas

December 22
08:37 2014

ShutdownJobLossJust in time for Christmas, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and delay a politically-charged struggle over President Barack Obama’s new immigration policy until the new year. The spending measure will fund the government, except for the Department of Homeland Security, through next September.

The disruptive Government shutdown of October 1, 2013 occurred when Congressional Republicans engineered a budget impasse as a way to strip the new health care law.  As a result, the National Park Service (NPS) stated that that they had closed all 401 national parks, including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. An estimated 500 concessions employees from Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas lost their jobs and Antelope Point Marina shut down completely.  125 National Park service employees in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument were put on furlough.  Colorado River Discovery and other river guides on the Colorado were told to suspend services on the river.

Around October 12, Page Mayor Bill Diak announced that Lake Powell would be reopen, and Governor Jan Brewer made a deal with the fed, to use state and local funds to reopen the Grand Canyon.

Finally, when the Treasury Department warned that it could run out of money to pay national obligations within a day, the House and Senate approved last-minute legislation that ended the 16-day government shutdown.  Nationally, the shutdown caused a loss of about $76 million per in sales from visitor park spending.  Fortunately, the National Parks remained open throughout the 2014 recreational season.

National Parks Open Through September, 2015

In a rare Saturday session last week, the Senate approved the $1.1 trillion spending measure that would fund most of the government for nine months, capping off a week of high-stakes drama over the funding bill and avoiding any government shutdown in the near future — at least until September of 2015.  Of course, in the area of Page Lake Powell, September is not a good time to worry about the possibility of another shutdown.

Locally, the 2013 shutdown made a big dent in the  average $238 million a year is spent by visitors who come to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument annually.

Read all of the Government Shutdown news in our October, 2013 Archives.

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