Western MA reacts to partial government shutdown - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Western MA reacts to partial government shutdown

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Many in Western Mass are part of the 800,000 across the country not sure when their next paycheck will come.

One-third of federal workers have been furloughed as of Oct. 1.

This hasn't happened in almost two decades, and experts say it could have serious consequences for the nation's reputation.

"Historically this is unheard of," said Dr. Bill Mandel, political science professor at Western New England University.

He says for years the government spending process has been a fairly automatic one, but Tuesday negotiations came to a standstill.

"These have become held hostage to other political matters," Mandel said.

Here in Western Mass, people are feeling the effects from Washington, DC, as hundreds of civilian workers at Chicopee's Westover Air Reserve Base got furlough letters.

"It's an unknown and how do you pay your mortgage on that," said Lt. Col. James Bishop of Westover Air Reserve Base.

At the Springfield Armory, a national park, workers were also sent home without pay.

"It's problematic for the people who work here and I especially feel for the people who don't make a lot of money and now they're being furloughed for who knows how long," said Superintendent of the Springfield Armory James Woolsey.

Mandel says those furloughed are not the only ones affected.

"That is a huge hit to our economy because all those dollars are dollars that are not being spent at stores and restaurants and things, and it's a real hit to these poor individuals."

He says it's just another example of how polarized Capitol Hill has become and the damage it can cause.

"Is it going to keep coming up over and over again, is this going to become a constant tactic? Because if it is the rest of the world is going to lose confidence in our politics and our economy."

The 27th amendment allows congressmen and senators to keep on getting paychecks through all of this.

Professor Mandel says the next problem will come when Congress takes on the debt limit in just a few weeks.

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