The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 2, 2013

EDITORIAL: Vance employees shouldn't be made to suffer in shutdown

Enid News and Eagle

— The federal government shutdown’s effects already are being seen at the local level.

Here in Enid, many people have family members, friends and neighbors impacted. At Vance Air Force Base, 100 of 246 government civilians employed at the base have been furloughed.

That’s an impact being felt now by 100 families. That’s 100 people who aren’t drawing paychecks from now until the situation is resolved by our lawmakers in Washington.

In addition, active duty military and retirees won’t be able to shop at the Vance commissary until the shutdown ends. The commissary was open Tuesday but has since closed and will remain closed for the time being. Other facilities at Vance, including the base exchange and clinic, will remain open.

We don’t know how long the political impasse and shutdown will last. President Barack Obama brought top lawmakers to the White House for talks Wednesday, but some people are saying the shutdown could last for two weeks or more.

What we do know is there are a lot of innocent people caught up in this, namely the 100 workers at Vance who were furloughed. Nationwide, some 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed.

These are people who have mortgages to pay, car payments to make and kids to put through school, and now their income is gone.

These people haven’t done anything wrong, but they now are being made to suffer because lawmakers in Washington can’t hash out their differences and reach a compromise that ends the shutdown.

We’re afraid the situation is going to get worse — and the impact of the shutdown more widespread — the longer this lasts.

Hopefully, it won’t be the two weeks some people say.