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Government shutdown would impact thousands in San Diego

The U.S. government is set to shut down on Sunday unless Congress manages to strike a last-minute agreement to pass a dozen spending bills.

A shutdown could cause “very significant consequences for our district, the region and the whole country,” District 49 Congressman Mike Levin said.

He said those consequences would include working without pay for more than a million military service members across the U.S., including those at bases around San Diego County. Camp Pendleton is in Levin’s district.


“I know that there are many junior enlisted Marines that are living paycheck to paycheck,” Levin said. “I know that the basic allowance for housing that they receive is inadequate and that it's very expensive to live in our region. And missing a paycheck is devastating to them and their families.”

If the shutdown happens, organizations such as the Armed Services YMCA are there to support San Diego military families with any issues they encounter — whether it’s general finances, child care assistance or food insecurity.

“We're looking at the calendar of services, making sure that there are no gaps, that we’re adjusting dates of food distribution and other resources to make sure that, for however long this lasts, that military families in the San Diego community will have what they need,” said Dorene Ocamb, the organization’s chief development officer.

The shutdown would also impact other federal employees who would go without pay.

In a statement, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson said:


“It’s very, very hard for anybody to go for 20 days, 30 days, 40 days or longer without receiving a paycheck. It impacts the ability of people to get to work, to pay to put gas in their vehicles, to pay for parking. It impacts their ability to pay the individuals that provide care for their children.”

If those workers can’t make it to their jobs, it could mean more delays at the airport. And there’s one more concern for a border region like San Diego: Levin said staff shortages among federal workers would make it harder to process an influx of migrants.

“This will cost the paychecks of thousands and thousands of our border patrol, our CBP, including in the San Diego region at a time when many are understaffed as it is,” the congressman said.

A government shutdown would also affect national parks and some health care programs.

The United States has experienced 21 gaps in government funding since 1976.

The last one was also one of the longest: 35 days, from late December 2018 into January of 2019.