2013 big stories: Government shutdown hits Hampton Roads

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by Mike Gooding, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 7:40 PM

NORFOLK-Hampton Roads got hit hard by the federal government shutdown in October.  More than 21,700 Navy civil servants got furloughed; 400 people working at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth were impacted.

"I'm the sole provider in my household," said Tracy Broday. "This was sort of short notice and I haven't had time to recuperate from the last furlough."

"We do what we do, but it is sort of stressful in not knowing when you're going to get paid," added Byron Moss.

Seemingly, everyone was impacted in some way. National parks, like the one at Jamestown,  closed.  More than 3.8 million veterans had their disability checks threatened and hundreds of thousands of vets and their survivors faced the possibility that their pensions would be cut off. A Hampton-based bus company that handles the public tours at Naval Station Norfolk worried it might have to close after the Pentagon canceled the tours. 

The Virginia National Guard had to cancel drills at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. Commissaries across the region closed. The Pentagon ordered personnel to stop volunteering for community service projects, much to the dismay of charitable organizations like the Foodbank.

Tidewater Community College economics professor Peter Shaw warned of the possible collateral damage.

"Every dollar that is less spent is also less tax dollars going into the public treasury to pay for schools, roads, fire, police protection, water, sewer," he said. "So this has just a catestrophic effect."

At Fort Eustis, as the shutdown began, soldiers from the 271st Movement Control Team deployed to Afghanistan, not knowing when or if they'd get paid.  The troops took it in stride, but family members were pretty upset.

"It's very irresponsible and I feel that the politicians, if some of their sons and daughters were deploying and in harm's way, they would not be pulling for any of this and they would be trying to figure it out," said one Army family member.

After 16 days, Washington came to its senses and Congress voted to end the shutdown. Lawmakers provided $31.5 billion in sequester relief over the next two years.

Just like that, the threat was over - gone, but most assuredly not forgotten.

 

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