In the Ogden-Clearfield area, we have 24,000 persons employed by the federal government. That's about 11.5 percent of our area's workers receiving a paycheck from the feds. Ogden-Clearfield is ranked number six among areas most-dependent on federal workers.
When 24,000 people miss paychecks, it extends beyond the workers and their families. These workers do not spend money as they otherwise would in the private sector, restaurants, markets, retail stores. Simple government business meetings, such as Layton meeting with Hill Air Force Base to discuss a proposed jointuse runway, get canceled.
Over the weekend, it was announced that some defense workers, including many at Hill, will return to work. But the impasse between Congress and the president continues.
If the partial government shutdown is not resolved by the date this editorial is published, Oct. 8, it will be a harsh condemnation of our federal lawmakers and the presidential administration. It needs to be resolved. In little more than a week, on Oct. 17, lawmakers will have to raise the U.S. debt limit. If that's not accomplished, the U.S. will lose financial credibility as we won't be able to honor our debts.
Frankly, at this point the onus is on President Barack Obama to lead. He needs to call in members of Congress, from both parties, and hash these issues out.
President Obama is not responsible for this partial government shutdown. The Republicans in Congress were unwise to place a shutdown or partial delay of the Affordable Care Act as a requirement to fund the government. Republicans made a critical mistake -- don't demand something you cannot achieve.
But the president's refusal to negotiate seriously with Republicans is short-sighted. Presidential leadership is needed in this situation. Very few Americans trust Congress. If the president sits out this political tiff, it's only going to get worse. And if it gets worse, the blame will be spread equally to everyone involved.
Call in Congress, Mr. President. Tell the pols this has to be resolved. Lead the discussions. Give the desperate Republicans something, maybe an end to the tax on medical devices, or end Congress' exemption to Obamacare.
The GOP will accept that. The stalemate is over, and workers here, and many more in the U.S., will be back to work.