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October 1, 2013

Residents, agencies unhappy about potential government shutdown

A month ago, Londonderry resident Don Moskowitz circled today’s date on his calendar.

“I saw it coming and sold off a lot of my stocks,” he said. “I’ve been looking ahead to this shutdown for a long time.”

Moskowitz was wary of the government shutdown. Congressional Republicans and Democrats negotiated yesterday on a new spending bill, with Republicans demanding a delay of the nation’s healthcare overhaul as the price for averting a partial government shutdown at midnight.

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted, 54-46, to reject the latest House version of the spending bill.

If the government did shut down at midnight, many income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays. National parks and museums would be closed, while hundreds of thousands of federal employees would be furloughed.

While lawmakers continued talking in Washington yesterday, at Wal-Mart in Derry, many residents were frustrated with the looming shutdown.

“I think it’s a joke,” said Ross Therrien, 55, of Londonderry. “The government should be embarrassed by the way they’re acting.”

Rita Magoon of Derry was worried about how things would operate without some federal employees.

“These are our experts,” she said. “We’re experiencing out-of-the-ordinary events. I don’t know how things would work.”

At White Mountain National Forest headquarters, employees had been preparing since Friday for a shutdown.

“There remains a lot of uncertainty,” said Tiffany Benna, the public affairs officer for the forest. “We are very concerned about what effects it might have on the public and for the businesses whose livelihood depends on the forest.”

Benna said the shutdown would come at a tough time.

“Many people come up here during foliage season,” she said. “This is our biggest season to continue doing construction contracts and start securing timber sales contracts.”

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