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Indiana Workers Could Be Furloughed If Government Shuts Down

Congress is in a deadlock over the budget, which must be passed by midnight to avoid a government shutdown.

Updated 4:05 p.m.

Federal workers in Indiana could be furloughed starting tomorrow if Congress does not pass a budget by the end of the day.

There are about 20,000 federal civilian employees in Indiana, and while many of them will not be affected, this would be the second round of furloughs for some employees who were forced to take unpaid leave days because of sequestration.

Indiana National Guard spokeswoman Cathy Van Bree says 1,000 federal technicians, including some stationed at Camp Atterbury, who were already furloughed for six days earlier this year because of sequestration.

“What that means for our families and for our federal technicians is that they will not have that income if this shutdown does go into effect,” she says. “That is very unfortunate and not something we want to see happen so we do want to see where we can continue to work where we do have a budget.”

Active and reserve duty National Guard members would stay on duty but could have their pay delayed.

Employees at the Crane naval base will largely be untouched.

Employees at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Facilities Engineering Command are all exempt from the government shutdown because they are not paid directly through Congressional appropriations, and only 15 civilian employees at Naval Support Activity Crane will be furloughed.

But if the shutdown lasts long enough, the furloughs could still impact Indiana’s economy.

“The bigger picture on this is that these people pay rents, they pay mortgages,” says Frank Nierzwicki, a visiting professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “They go out and eat in restaurants. They shop. If their purchasing power is down, it’s going to have an effect on the local and state economy.”

Congress must pass a budget by midnight to avoid a shutdown. As NPR reports, the Senate rejected a House budget proposal this afternoon, making a shutdown more likely.

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