SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - If Congress does not pass a short-term government funding bill within a few days, a government shutdown will happen. But even if the crisis is averted by next Tuesday, it's still a deal that will actually cost Americans more money.
Like consumers, the government saves money when it buys things in bulk. But short-term spending bills--like the one Congress is about to pass, means that the government has to pay higher retail-like prices. Experts say Congress has not agreed on a "real" budget for four years now, and they say this is one of the reasons why these political standoffs and stopgap spending bills keep coming up.
On Friday, the Senate will vote on whether to avoid a government shutdown on October 1. Some Americans say that they are optimistic that lawmakers will make the deadline.
"They usually have these every once in a while. I have faith that the government will fix its problem and everything will be fine", said Jesse Groner of Amherst.
Yet some political leaders, like U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, is warning of the effects that could come if Congress can't come to an agreement.
Sen. Markey says that a shutdown could harm Massachusetts in these ways:
- Nearly 200,000 seniors could be denied Social Security services.
- 25,000 military members and their families could have their pay delayed.
- College students could be without their loans as long as the government is closed.
- A shutdown could also stop small business loans.
National parks and historic sties (i.e. Fanueil Hall) would close.
- Related: Markey- Government shutdown would harm Mass.
On the national level, many federally funded programs could face deeper budget cuts--such as Head Start.
Nicole Blais of Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield Head Start Inc. says they're holding their breath. "I think programs are just preparing again for the worst, hoping for the best, and looking at our budgets to see how far we can go", said Blais. The Head Start program is still repairing from March, when the sequestration cuts dramatically reduced its federal funding.