Federal shutdown has large NM impact

From KOB-TV.com - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - "Bleep bleep bleeping government!" Sentiments many of us might share, uttered by New Mexico taxpayer Wuilliam Dixon Tuesday morning in front of the closed and locked I.R.S. building in Albuquerque.
     That building is just one of many federal government operations around the state that shut down when Congress deadlocked in a fight over federal spending and Obamacare. "I think they ought to just start over and start fresh," Dixon said. "Get all them people out, get some new faces. People that can actually do their job instead of just making the money and sitting on their butts and screwing the small people!"
     A couple of miles away, at the Social Security building, it was a slightly different story. They were open, but only for limited services, as Beatrice Wade found out the hard way. "I went in there to attempt to get a Social Security card for my son and they told me the government has shut down," Wade said. "I was in shock, knowing that this is one of the main buildings here in Albuquerque. I mean, we need it open."
     Kirtland Air Force Base remained open with military personnel on duty and on payroll, but there was no work for about 2,000 civilian employees on the base. Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories were open, however. That was not the case for the U.S. Forest Service. Illinois tourists Julie and Jeff Rolfingsmeier found the Sandia Ranger Station closed. They couldn't find out whether they could hike or couldn't.
     So, life is suddenly more difficult for thousands of New Mexico taxpayers but even tougher for federal employees on furlough on indefinite leave without pay again while Democrats and Republicans in Congress blames each other for the meltdown. More


NM heath insurance exchange opens

Tens of thousands of New Mexicans will find new opportunities to shop for health insurance through an online marketplace that's opening for business. 

New Mexico's health insurance exchange begins operating Tuesday and there also will be a toll-free hotline providing assistance. 

Small businesses — those with 50 or fewer workers — can sign up for health insurance coverage through the state-run exchange. Individuals can use the New Mexico exchange to link to a federal government website that will handle their enrollment until the state has its computer system ready to assume that responsibility. 

Enrollment also can be done by phone or in person at clinics and other sites across the state. 

About 80,000 New Mexicans are expected to enroll in insurance plans through the exchange in its first year.


First Gov. shutdown in 17 years

Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.
 As the clock struck midnight Monday, House Republicans were demanding that the Senate negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. 
Minutes before midnight, the White House ordered a shutdown.
 The Democratic Senate on Monday twice rejected GOP demands to delay key portions of what has become to known as Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open. 
An estimated 800,000 federal workers faced furloughs though many were told work a half day Tuesday. Critical functions like air traffic control and military operations will continue. Social Security benefits will be paid. National parks and most federal offices will close.