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Harkin: What government shutdown means for Iowans

Published: Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 11:07 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 11:09 a.m. CST

Editor’s Note: the following is a letter submitted to the Daily News over the weekend on the subject of the federal budget and the current disagreement between the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate on a concurrent resolution to continue funding government.

To the editor:

This fall Congress faces a number of decisions the outcome of which will have significant ramifications for the middle class and the economy. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update about the decisions and the impact they will have on Iowans.

September 30, barring action by Congress, funding for the Federal Government will lapse and many critical functions performed by the federal government will cease. 

That’s why earlier (Friday), with my support, the United States Senate passed legislation to keep the government open through mid-November. 

This legislation was passed without attaching any extraneous or controversial provisions.

A government shutdown would have a real, negative impact on Iowa businesses, consumers, seniors and veterans. 

Not only would a shutdown unnecessarily cost taxpayers billions of dollars, but it would also deny many critical services to Iowans. 

Among other things, federally supported early childhood centers will cease operation, Social Security staff will not be available to answer questions or accept new applications, national parks and monuments will close, small business loan applications will not be reviewed, and services for veterans and pay for the military will be delayed. 

In addition, America’s standing and reputation as a country that can govern and face its challenges head on will be impaired.

In the five years since the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Iowa communities have led our nation’s economic recovery. 

A government shutdown will be a setback to these communities and to the economy as a whole. 

Such a situation is not only unfortunate, it is wholly preventable. 

It is the obligation of Congress to build on that work and to simply keep the government open. I am hopeful that Congress can reach an agreement this weekend.

Know that I will do all that I can to keep Congress focused on keeping our economy and our middle class moving forward.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of my offices in Iowa or in Washington, D.C.

Tom Harkin

United States Senator

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