As gov't shutdown looms, thousands of CSRA jobs hang in balance

MCCORMICK COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - The clock is ticking and when it reaches midnight the government will shut down, unless the Senate and the House come to an agreement.

The House is trying to approve a spending bill that includes amendments that would weaken ObamaCare. Members of the Senate are refusing to pass off on it and if they don't reach a deal, the government will close up shop Tuesday.

If nothing changes by midnight, thousands of employees will be furloughed at the Savannah River Site and Fort Gordon.

The CSRA's largest employers aren't the only ones bracing for the possible government shutdown.

"We have a staff between 40 and 50 here the majority of those will go home tomorrow if we do furlough," said Scott Hyatt, Operations Project Manager for the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Thurmond.

He says if the government shuts down, 32 of his 43 employees won't have a job Tuesday.

Lake Thurmond's Visitor Center would immediately close and Hyatt says the 36 Corps owned parks could only stay open until their money runs out.

He says if a government shutdown lasts several weeks, they'll be forced to shut down the parks.

That would lead to turning tens of thousands of visitors away from their parks.

A government shutdown would also mean furloughs for thousands of employees at the SRS and civilian employees at Fort Gordon. Officials at the fort and SRS aren't commenting about a possible shutdown.

Congressman Joe Wilson hopes the Senate will give up ground so it won't get that far.

"Our intent is to avoid a government shutdown. The (Senate) vote was really close, it was 54 to 46. So if we could get five members to switch we could have a bill go to the President," said Wilson.

Fox54's Mark Barber asked Wilson, "What do you say to your constituents who blame members of Congress and the Senate for taking the country to the brink of a government shutdown?"

"What I say is there should be a normal legislative process where both sides are engaged," Wilson, said.

He says Senators proved by leaving the capital this past weekend that they aren't dedicated to working out an agreement.

Winston Pilcher just bought a pass to use the parks at Lake Thurmond, something that may not be an option for long.

"Would you say they're holding the American people hostage?" Barber asked. Pilcher said, "Yeah, it's just not right."

Hyatt says he shares Pilcher's frustration, especially because he knows he has employees working paycheck to paycheck.

"It can be tough. Pay day is Thursday, so we know we're getting paid on Thursday. After that, we don't know when our next paycheck will be," said Hyatt.

If the government shuts down, it will make getting a gun permit or a passport much more difficult. You will also have to wait if you want to take out a federal loan to buy a house.

Even if the government shuts down, ObamaCare will start Tuesday as planned. Social Security checks will continue to be paid and the mail will still run.

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