LISBON - Pointing out some of the federal programs which could be in jeopardy if the government shutdown continues, Jennifer Garrison, a candidate for the U.S. 6th District House of Representatives, made an appearance at the Columbiana County One Stop Career Service Center on Monday.
Joined by Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, Garrison said current Congressman Bill Johnson needs to work with others to pass the continuing resolution (CR), which she said will fund the federal government at a lower level temporarily. She said Congress can then begin working on other issues like the debt ceiling, which the country is scheduled to hit on Oct. 17, and the Affordable Care Act.
"There is a reasonable offer on the table for the house to pass a clean CR that would reopen the government at lower than previous spending levels," she said. "Congress must act and I urge Congressman Johnson to support this reasonable bill. There is too much at stake to continue down the current path."
Although House Speaker John Boehner has claimed there are not enough votes in the House to pass a clean CR, Garrison disagrees, stating she believes there are enough Republicans ready to cross over and vote to end the government shutdown.
Additionally, she claimed the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening down on Monday is a result of the market's reaction to a "disfunctional Congress."
"All people deserve representation," she said. "The voters tell me they're frustrated and disgusted with Congress."
According to Traficanti, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana County One Stops are operating on carryover budget at this point, because $1.4 million in federal money originally authorized for the program is being held up because of the government shutdown. The training center is not taking new applications and skill training will be unavailable if things continue.
In another county in the 6th District, Monroe, Garrison said an aluminum plant, Ormet, closed leaving 700 people out of work. Garrison points out places like the One Stop are necessary for people out of work to receiving the training they need to find another job.
Here in Columbiana County, Garrison said Elkton Federal Prison guards are currently working without pay, while putting their lives on the line.
Traficanti notes the Amber Alert is not working, with no one answering the phones. He questioned how many others will be affected if the shutdown continues, including regional veterans offices, Medicare, Medicaid and the veterans board of appeals. Traficanti asked what he is supposed to tell all the people, who are calling his office wanting to know if the services they count on are in jeopardy.
"Congress, who is collecting a paycheck, is not leading," Traficanti criticized. "All I want to see is some leadership."
Not mentioned by Garrison but criticized by Traficanti is the "piecemeal approach" the House has taken to try to fund some of the key government programs and lighten the effects of the government shutdown. For instance, the House unanimously passed a resolution to provide back pay for federal workers once the government shutdown has ended. Additionally, the House has passed other resolutions to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the National Institutes of Health, the National Guard, veterans benefits and the national parks. The Senate refuses to consider these resolutions.
"It's time to start acting like adults and go figure it out," Garrison said of the differences keeping the House and Senate from agreeing on a budget. "That's what we sent you to Congress to do."
Claiming to be a conservative Democrat, Garrison said she is known for working together to get things done. She served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2005-2010. She resides in Marietta.