Capital Region

Effects of federal government shutdown felt in Capital Region

Saratoga National Historical Park among locations affected
A sign posted at the Saratoga National Historical Park tells visitors of the shutdown.
A sign posted at the Saratoga National Historical Park tells visitors of the shutdown.

Buildings at Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater were closed on Saturday following Friday’s federal government shutdown.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress could not agree Friday night in Washington, D.C., on a government spending measure, prompting the shutdown. Disagreements centered on multiple issues, including protecting young undocumented immigrants and extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Senators continued to work Saturday on an agreement.

While Saratoga National Historical Park grounds, trails and parking areas were open to the public, no permits, educational programs, maintenance or visitor information would be provided until the government reopens. 

A statement posted on the park’s Facebook page on Saturday morning said:

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, who represents the 20th Congressional District, which includes Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties, said he would remain in Washington over the weekend.

“Despite the failure of Congress and the White House to fulfill their governing duties and reach an agreement to fund the government, my offices remain open and ready to serve constituents,” he said in a news release. “I know many of you share my great frustration and disappointment that a deal could not be struck. At this point I do not know how long the president and those loyal to him in Congress will keep the government closed.”

Tonko said that Republics who control the House, Senate and presidency had more than a year to prevent the government shut down.

“They do not need my vote, but my priorities are also bipartisan: permanent funding for children’s health insurance, funding to take action on the opioid epidemic, long-term certainty for our military and domestic priorities, and protection from deportation for individuals who were brought to this country as minors and grew up as Americans. Instead, they spent that time working to cut health care and give themselves a tax break.”

Albany International Airport remains operational, despite the shutdown.

“The Transportation Security Administration will continue to screen passengers,” Doug Myers, an airport spokesman, said. “The nation’s air traffic control system is considered essential and air traffic controllers will remain on the job.”

U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, who represents the 19th Congressional District, said in a news release that he voted to keep the government open and fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years and prevent implementation of the “Cadillac” tax on health insurance and the medical device tax.

“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats prefer to shut down the government because they insist on including DACA in the legislation,” he said. “The reality is that there is not yet a bipartisan agreement on DACA and border security.”

Faso said he hopes an agreement can be reached soon.

“No single issue should, in my opinion, cause the proper function of government to cease, particularly when it jeopardizes the support of our military personnel around the world,” he said.

Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, voted in support of funding the government and extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“Last night, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have kept the government open and funded,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday. “This bill also included a needed six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that low-income children in our district rely on. This is inexcusable.

“Our men and women in uniform and countless families who rely on federal government services deserve better than this.”

Stefanik said she would continue to urge Schumer and Gillibrand to end the shutdown and reopen the government.

 “In the meantime, I am co-sponsoring legislation introduced by my colleague Congresswoman [Martha McSally, R-Ariz.] that will ensure our troops and national security personnel are paid,” she said. “During this temporary shutdown, I will continue working my hardest to serve you and my office will remain open to serve the needs of my constituents.”

On Friday, Gillibrand, a Democrat, voted against legislation to prevent a government shut down.

“The problem is that President Trump has previously declared he wanted the government shut down and is doing all he can to get it. The truth is that there is broad bipartisan agreement that the government should not shut down, the Children’s Health Insurance Program should be extended for 10 years and that Dreamers should be protected,” she said. “Unfortunately, the president and his irresponsible enablers in Congress refuse to take yes for an answer and instead want to hold America hostage for a taxpayer-funded and ineffective border wall he promised Mexico was going to pay for.”

Gillibrand said while she would continue to work with her colleagues “in a bipartisan manner to avoid this manufactured crisis from the president,” she said she would not “support another short-term continuing resolution that does not protect children’s health insurance and DACA recipients.”

On Friday, moments before the federal government shut down, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York delivered a speech on the Senate floor and said, “Democrats will continue to strive for a bipartisan agreement on all of the outstanding issues.”

Schumer continued, “When President Trump decides he is finally ready to lead his party to a deal, Democrats will be ready and willing and eager to clinch it. There is a path forward, and we can reach it quickly.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County


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