17 days in, partial shutdown tightens on government agencies

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore.– The partial government shutdown is now entering its third week and eight government agencies are starting to face tightening budgets and increasing delays. Its even causing cutbacks and furloughs to federal employees.

Locally, this could spell trouble for several areas.

The first being those in the midst of getting a home loan. According to a representative, Colin Mullane, of the Rogue Valley Association of REALTORS, the shutdown has stalled the transfer of physical copies of people’s tax returns.

This could be a problem for buyers looking to get a home loan as some lenders require that physical copy. On top of that, Mullane said buyers looking to close on a house would have to have their lender extend a loan lock – a term for when a freeze is put on the interest rate of a mortgage – potentially causing buyers to pay more money.

“If interest rates went from let’s say 5 to 5 1/2 percent, which they haven’t, but if they did that lender would charge a fee,” said Mullane. “If somebody is borrowing $200,000 it could be a 1 percent fee to extend that which would be $2,000.”

Mullane says that things should be fine right now but if the shutdown continues many groups especially those in low-incomes could be detrimentally affected.

TSA TROUBLES

NBC5 attempted to reach out to the Transportation Security Administration to find out more about the news that broke last week of employees calling out sick in large numbers and see if it had an effect on southern Oregon airports.

However, several attempts failed and phone calls were left with this message: “Thank you for calling the Transportation Security Administration Office of Public Affairs. Due to the lack of federal funding we are unable to monitor this line.”

Later in the evening, a TSA administrator did respond to NBC5’s request. Tim Gregory, the deputy assistant administrator, explained that unfortunately, he could not give specifics on how many employees were calling out sick due to security concerns.

But he did say that so far, the TSA is not seeing any operational impacts because of the shutdown.

FOOD STAMP CONCERNS

The shutdown has also closed the Department of Agriculture which fund food stamp programs like SNAP.

It’s estimated many SNAP programs across the country could run out of funding come February 1. However, according to Oregon’s Department of Human Services, the state has enough funds for benefits to last through February.

“Then at that point, we would need to receive information from the USDA for additional funding,” said Dawn Myers, a deputy administrator for self-sufficiency programs for Oregon DHS.

She explained that if the shutdown extends past February, emergency plans will have to be put in place.

But many agencies and organizations NBC5 News spoke with today said they hope it doesn’t come to that and a resolution can be made soon. Otherwise, the 800,000 federal employees could face their first week without a paycheck come the middle of this week.

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