Long Term Shutdown Could Impact Several Area Organizations

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

It's a long way between the Brazos Valley and Washington, but the effects of the shutdown are visible here at home.

Visitors at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum Tuesday showed up, only to find out the museum was one of the services deemed non-essential as part of the government shutdown.

"I just stopped by to see if it was open," said Burgundy Gardner, a student at Texas A&M.

"Every year we come by, and unfortunately today it's closed," said Joe Carrales, a visitor in town from Dallas.

All national museums, parks, and zoos closed as soon as the shutdown went into affect at midnight.

"I still had faith that somehow the congress would work something out, but they didn't," said Eric Todd, Deputy Director of the Brazos Valley Community Action Agency (BVCAA}.

Todd says three of BVCAA's programs rely on government funding. One is WIC, a group that supports 7,800 low-income women and children in the Brazos Valley. Head Start and Meals on Wheels are also federally funded groups.

The three programs receive $800,000 from the government every month, so officials say they could be in jeopardy depending on how long the shutdown lasts.

"We know that we will continue services for at least a month without any disruption of services," said Todd. "If it goes beyond that, our board is going to have to sit down and make some tough decisions. Do we sit there and use our reserves that we have? Do we take out a loan if we need to take out a loan, and continue services on the good faith that the government is going to come through and reimburse us for the services that we provide?" said Todd.

Todd says BVCAA has been through shutdowns before, so he thinks this one will only last a couple of weeks at most.

Those who support the Bush Library - and already feel the effects of the shutdown - hope he's right.

"It's frustrating, not only for us, but for other people that it's affecting their livelihood," said Corrales.

The Congressional Research Service says there have been 17 government shutdowns since 1977. The last shutdown was in 1995, and it lasted 3 weeks.


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