Monterey, CA – If the federal government shuts down at midnight tonight, it's not entirely clear what will happen next. Local federal employees, especially those in defense, may have to show up to work on Monday to find out whether their job is considered essential.
Dr. David Anderson is a professor of American History at CSU Monterey Bay. He recalls the last time the government shutdown in the mid 1990s. "I don't believe there was a winnowing out of whose essential in a certain office to keep it going if it was not clearly a public service job. Not clearly the military or the air traffic controllers or security guards or something like that," said Dr. Anderson.
In the Monterey Bay Area, nearly 11,000 people get a paycheck from the federal government. Most are in Monterey County. It is home to more than 3,000 federal retirees and nearly 5,000 defense workers, including military members at the Defense Language Institute and Naval Postgraduate School. "Well their classes will be closed, so they'll sort of be on stand-by," said Democratic Congressman Sam Farr who represents the region. He says a shutdown would be disastrous for everyone. "The total federal expenditure in our congressional district is about three-point-five billion," said Congressman Farr.
The last shutdown was brief. Dr. Anderson says a long term shutdown is a scary scenario. "There are millions of dollars a day that the federal government provides the economy. But in the short run if those offices and those procedures are not there the whole economy is really going to slow down in a situation where it cannot even afford slowdown," said Dr. Anderson.
Some areas are certain to slowdown in a shutdown. Los Padres National Forest and Pinnacles National Monument will be closed to the public in a government shutdown.