KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Concerns grow over the potential of a federal government shutdown and the effects it could have locally in Kansas City.
People at all levels of the government are focused on Capitol Hill and the growing chances of a government shutdown. It could take place Saturday night at midnight ET — when present government funding runs out.
That means three days remain to reach a new deal, or four million federal employees could work without being paid.
The federal government is the largest employer in the Kansas City metro with more than 20,000 workers. A shutdown would likely affect services we all use, such as the Truman Library in Independence or obtaining a passport from the U.S. Department of State.
The most recent government shutdown happened in 2018 and lasted for more than 30 days. Some employees at local federal offices like the Federal Reserve and the Richard Bolling Federal Building worked without being immediately paid.
However, it’s a more grassroots level concern for nonprofits, where leaders are concerned about funding programs to help people in need.
At Metro Lutheran Ministries, workers see people in seemingly hopeless circumstances. The nonprofit is a food pantry and a resource for people who can no longer feed their families or pay their rent.
“Suddenly, all of those things become emergencies,” said Scott Cooper, Metro Lutheran Ministries’ executive director.
Cooper is concerned the potential government shutdown could affect the funding this agency receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Cooper said MLM serves 50,000 people per year with a wide range of needs.
“You can see that families who are working and supporting their families on some government income, and suddenly, that is shut off? They may be living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Cooper said Thursday.
Operation Breakthrough leaders are also concerned about funding that comes via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mary Esselman, CEO at that nonprofit, said her office is a primary source for many children facing food insecurity. Esselman said too many people depend on her agency, so it can’t shut down.
“We have too many vulnerable children and families that depend on us. Whatever happens with the government, we’re going to be here and we’ll be operating,” Esselman said.
The shutdown won’t affect a number of commonly used federal services, including SNAP and WIC, the Internal Revenue Service, airport services such as the FAA and TSA, and the U.S. military.
Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid services will also still go out.
One other service that won’t be affect is Kansas City’s VA Hospital.
A union representative for the hospital’s employees explained to FOX4 News that funding for that service runs on a two-or-three year continuum rather than annual funding from the federal government.