SIGN SAYS IT ALL: The Roger Williams National Memorial visitors center in Providence was closed last week due to the partial federal government shutdown.
PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
More than half of Rhode Island civilian federal employees were sent home from work last week when Congress failed to fund the U.S. government, triggering an indefinite shutdown.
About 7,000 of the total 11,500 federal nonmilitary workers in Rhode Island had been furloughed as of Oct. 3, according to estimates provided by staff for Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I.
The largest impact was felt at Naval Station Newport, where 800 civilian employees were furloughed starting Oct. 1.
Military personnel at the base remained on duty, but the shutdown affected civilian nonemergency or life-support operations at all 50 commands except the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
Many classes at the Naval War College were canceled, the Naval War College Museum was closed, as was the base commissary and “Pass and ID office,” according to an announcement from the public relations office before it was also closed.
Federally run parks across the state were closed, including Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, which is run by the National Park Service, and five wildlife refuges run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
About 300 civilian employees of the Rhode Island National Guard were furloughed, according to The Associated Press.
House Republican leaders last week were meeting intermittently with their Democratic counterparts and President Barack Obama to resolve the dispute.
Despite the shutdown, many federal government operations continued, including air-traffic control, law enforcement and security for federal facilities.
U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island remained open throughout the week, but it was unclear how long it would remain operating without an agreement to restore federal funding.