Friday’s possible partial federal government shutdown could require some Federal Aviation Administration operations at the William J. Hughes Technical Center to cease, but not air traffic control or other essential services, said U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd.
President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down the government if the Democrats don’t agree to fund a wall along the border with Mexico.
Essential services, however, are exempted from stopping during shutdowns.
Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security that includes fencing and other technology, but not a $5 billion wall.
“It is not the way to go. A shutdown is never a good thing,” said LoBiondo, who will retire Jan. 3 after 24 years in Congress.
He said he remains hopeful a shutdown will be avoided if the two parties can come to a compromise on border security.
The Social Security Administration has already been funded for next year, so there should be no interruption in checks being sent out or other services should a shutdown occur, said LoBiondo chief of staff Jason Galanes.
But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not been funded yet, so the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway Township would be impacted.
“We are only just getting ourselves aware of the fact there could be a shutdown,” said Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig. “We can’t plan ahead because every shutdown has different guidance (for how to proceed). We won’t know until we get the guidance.”
U.S. Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew, who will succeed LoBiondo next year, said he stressed during his campaign that great leadership and compromise are needed on border security.
“Whether it’s a wall, high-tech fencing or other types of technical security, we need to maintain our borders,” Van Drew said. “I really believe we should be able to compromise and come to a solution. We need borders, and we need to be safe.”
Federal spending is controlled by 12 separate appropriations bills, said LoBiondo, and about 70 percent of government funding is already secured.
“So if no agreement is reached, about 30 percent to 40 percent of government will be affected,” he said.
Previous federal government shutdowns have ranged from a couple of weekend days that barely registered with the public to 15-17 days in which many federal offices and properties like national parks remained closed, LoBiondo said.
Coast Guard Training Center Cape May spokesman John Edwards said all training will continue, even though the appropriations have not been made for the Coast Guard.
The $10 billion Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act was recently signed by President Trump, but it still has to go through the annual appropriations process, said LoBiondo.
LoBiondo said he supports improving border security, but not closing the government to force Democrats to fund a wall.
“Both sides have dug their heels in on this,” LoBiondo said. “The rhetoric at this point is pretty strident. It’s hard to say if everyone is posturing.”
Van Drew also said there should be a route for those who are in the U.S. now illegally to become citizens.
“There are 10 million, 11, 12, 13 million — we don’t know the exact number here now,” Van Drew said.
“We know we are not going to send tens of millions back in boats. It would cost a fortune and not work.”
He is not advocating for automatically making all illegals here now citizens, he said.
“It means you have to learn about America, take a test, make a pledge, go through a background check,” Van Drew said.
If it’s accompanied by safer borders and new Americans paying into Social Security and taxes, it could be good for all, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.