About 6,200 federal employees in Illinois could be affected by a partial government shutdown if some federal agencies aren’t funded by midnight Friday, a situation that a central Illinois congressman said he’d like to avoid while talks on funding a border wall continue.
Most of the federal government is funded. The Friday deadline to get a deal to fund the rest appeared to be contingent on funding for a southern border wall President Donald Trump wants, though he seemed to waiver some on his demands Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said funding for a border wall is a “colossal waste of resources.”
“We could use that money to fund new infrastructure projects, new schools, and to help people get training for higher wage jobs,” Foster said. “We all agree we need to fix our broken immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.”
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said there could be an effort to kick the can down the road.
“If it means moving this to a later time, some people have talked about next September, some people have talked about moving it to January, we’ll see,” LaHood said.
But, LaHood said the time for Republicans to strike is now.
“We still control the House and the Senate and the presidency and now is the time to show that we stand up for the principals that we’ve talked an awful lot about,” he said.
LaHood said some retiring Republicans may not show up to vote in what’s considered a lame duck session, complicating the matter.
Beginning Jan. 3, Democrats take control of the House and will hold it for at least the next two years. Republicans increased their majority in the U.S. Senate during the November midterms.
There are nine federal agencies that the publication Government Executive says are not yet funded. Those are the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice. About 41 percent would be subject to furlough if they’re not funded by the Friday deadline.
The publication Governing estimates about 6,200 employees from those agencies are in Illinois. About 2,500 of the non-essential employees may be furloughed.
While taxpayers may not feel a shutdown right away, LaHood said there may be an effort to keep the lights on as other areas of the economy could feel it.
“The stock market has been a little jittery over the last couple of weeks here,” LaHood said. “We always have to be a little bit aware that when we shut down the government, there are consequences to that and we don’t want to go backward in terms of the growth that we’ve made.”
“That may factor into whether we do a short-term continuing resolution to make sure we don’t shut down the government,” LaHood said.
“I stand ready and willing to work with my Republican colleagues on a spending plan that does not demonize individuals who come here to lawfully seek asylum,” Foster said.
Story by Greg Bishop of the Illinois News Network