EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 2, 2013

Granite Staters frustrated with government shutdown

Granite Staters express frustration with Congress

Senior citizens, veterans and National Guardsmen are among the first in New Hampshire who will feel the effects of the federal government shutdown that started yesterday.

College students and the poor would be on deck.

As the shutdown sidelined 332 N.H. National Guard employees with furloughs, Washington’s political stalement hit home even in the offices of the state’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced she had put out the closed sign at her offices in Washington and back home in the Granite State. She noted staff members would be unable to answer phone calls or emails.

Shaheen and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., sent a joint letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel protesting the Guard furloughs and at least 1,600 more at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

“We certainly should not allow gridlock in Washington to keep these highly skilled professionals, including those at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease, from supporting missions that are so vital to our national security,” the senators wrote.

The governor’s office said at least 1,600 shipyard workers were furloughed but the number could fluctuate.

New applicants for Social Security and Medicare benefits could experience delays.

It’s making people angry.

“Quite frankly, I can’t speak the words I’m so upset and angry,” said Sherry Spencer, chairman of the Pelham Council on Aging. “Every single one, from the president on down, should be fired for this unnecessary bull.”

That senior applications for Social Security or Medicare would be delayed because of politics is just ludicrous, she said.

“I don’t understand how they continue to get away with it,” Spencer said. “This is very difficult to try to explain to seniors. They are very scared.”

The “Veterans Field Guide To Government Shutdown,” recently issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, said VA medical facilities will remain fully operational.

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