Dr. Paul Pope of MSU Billings speaks on potential impacts of a Government Shutdown

Sep 25, 2023

Travia Forte KULR 8 Reporter Sep 25, 2023 Updated Sep 26, 2023

BILLINGS, Mont. -- As the next potential government shutdown hangs over the nation's head many are left wondering what it actually means. 

If congress doesn’t reach a deal on spending bills, the Federal Government will shut down this Saturday, Making it the 6th since 1995.  

Dr. Paul Pope, an Associate Professor of Political Science with Montana State University of Billings said, that if the government does shut down it could devastate many people living in Montana. 

"Make no mistake, it does not save us any money, it costs us Billions of dollars to shut down the government, because every time it comes back, we do not have enough personnel to deal with all the backlog, so they have to work a tremendous amount of overtime that they didn't originally budget for and it cost us so much more -- the effect on the economy and on moral, it is highly detrimental to the country when there is a shut down." Said Dr. Pope.  

You have more interactions with federal workers than you might think. There's the TSA workers operating security at the airport, and even the postal workers who deliver your mail. 

Pope said State and Federal employees could either be furloughed, meaning suspended -or must work for free until the funding is passed. 

" It will slow our economy; federal programs will stop. Every single state relies on Federal programs and money for its operation. States like Montana, we receive more Federal dollars than we pay in taxes and that just stops immediately and that's going to hurt us in the long run.” 

In fact, according to the Montana Budget and Policy Center, 49% of Montana's budget relies on federal funding for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years. 

Montana's VA office commented regarding if Veterans would be affected during the possible a shutdown, they said in part, quote, “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to providing quality, consistent care, and services to Veterans and their families. VA’s mission provides no exception to this standard even when operations are limited by the absence of appropriations (commonly known as a “Government shutdown”).” Simply, if there is a government shutdown, all Veteran care and VA healthcare will continue uninterrupted; there will be no impact on Veteran VA healthcare in Montana. In addition, the VA budget is ahead of the federal government by one year, so VA would not be impacted by any current Continuing Resolution Agreement.”  

The shutdown will begin on October 1st if Congress fails to pass the spending bills required to keep government agencies running 

Montana Budget & Policy Center

Shaping policy for a stronger Montana.

MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.