HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Could a government shutdown keep thousands of federal employees from going to work next week in Huntsville?
The Department of Defense issued a memo Monday that urges federal employees to prepare for the shutdown scenario, which appears more likely as Congress and the White House remain gridlocked over funding for the new health care reform law.
The high stakes showdown was on the minds of many during a town hall meeting at Grissom High School Monday evening. North Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R) told audience members that he and his colleagues in the U.S. House had already done their job by passing a bill which will keep the federal government running through the end of the year. The legislation passed by the House last week also entirely defunds Obamacare, a provision that makes the bill likely dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate.
“The American people reject it [health care law],” said Rep. Brooks. “You have different majorities by which they reject Obamacare, but it’s not yet to the point where the White House and Senate are willing to postpone it for everybody.
President Obama has promised to veto any legislation that does not include money for the health care law he championed. If no deal is reached by midnight next Tuesday, thousands of defense workers at Redstone Arsenal and its surrounding contractors will be staying home next week. Rep. Brooks said he remains adamantly opposed to the health care law, but said he has not rued out voting for a funding measure that would include it. The scenario could take shape later this week if the Senate sends back a revised bill to the House that includes full funding for Obamacare, pitting the law against paychecks for federal workers.
“I do not know what kind of bill the Senate will send back,” said Brooks. “There are circumstances in which I will vote for a continuing resolution and circumstances in which I will not vote for a continuing resolution. So I really need to see the continuing resolution before I can committ one way or the other.”
Rep. Brooks said the Senate also has the option of passing another House bill which included funding for the Department of Defense only. Brooks said doing that would take paychecks for troops and defense workers off the bargaining table