Posted: Oct 7, 2013 7:31 AM by Keele Smith - MTN News
Updated: Oct 7, 2013 7:44 AM
More than 10,000 federal employees have been furloughed in Montana, according to Congressman Steve Daines.
Keele Smith spoke with locals and park officials and shows us how the government shutdown is affecting them.
Jennifer Summers is one of many Montana residents who are feeling the impacts of the government shutdown.
"It's kind of changed my lifestyle here a little bit, you know," said Summers. "I didn't have to take out student loans before and now, I possibly might have to. So, it's just kind of a scary thing for me."
"I've seen my neighbors laid off and hanging out at the house, not knowing when they're going back to work and they're pretty disgusted about it," said Eric Klas of Bozeman.
Daines hopes the Senate will sign a bill that the House passed on Saturday, which would allow all federal employees to be paid back once the government re-opens.
"It's inconceivable that the failures of DC are forcing many families to face uncertainty," Daines said. "So it was encouraging to actually see something bipartisan pass the House 407-0. It doesn't mean we're bipartisan in that we're hoping the Senate will take that up Monday and hope the President signs it."
While congressional leaders are trying to end the government shutdown, residents are feeling the impacts here in Montana, especially with Yellowstone National Park being closed.
"We would expect normally to get about 138,000 recreational visits during the month of October," said Al Nash, Yellowstone National Park spokesman. "We had almost 690 national park service staff on duty on Sept. 30. We have just over 100 everyday now."
Only people living inside the park are allowed into Yellowstone and the impact of no visitors is far reaching.
"Bozeman, Billings, Cody and even Jackson are feeling the impacts of Yellowstone being closed to visitors," said Nash.
Tourist Helaine Lemons expressed her disappointment with the park's closure: "It's something I look forward to, it's something that's very special for me and we haven't been able to do it
"Instead of just closing down the country, they better get themselves together and start figuring things out in a more adult way," Lemons added.
Nash said in just the first 7 days of October, Yellowstone put more than $5 million into the surrounding area because of visitation, so there is a very real economic impact.