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Possible government shutdown would have varied impacts on agencies in western Mass.

The Edward P. Boland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northampton, Massachusetts.
STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette/gazettenet.com
The Edward P. Boland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northampton, Massachusetts.

A shutdown of the federal government could happen over the weekend, but the Department of Veterans Affairs said it would not have any impact locally.

Sarah Robinson, a spokesperson for the VA in central and western Massachusetts, said the department's healthcare facilities in Northampton, Pittsfield, Greenfield, Worcester and Fitchburg will all remain open.

"All of the care would continue," she said. "The VA would continue to deliver benefits including compensation, pension, education, housing. No appointments would be affected. There would be no break in service."

Robinson said in the event of a shutdown, no VA employees will be furloughed and they will be paid.

It would also be business as usual for the U.S. Postal Service.

Spokesperson Steve Doherty said, "postal service operations won't be interrupted and all post offices will remain open. We're an independent entity that's generally fund through the sale of our products and services and not by tax dollars, so our services shouldn't be impacted at all by a shutdown."

Rodney Furr, chief of public affairs at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, said it's unclear how a government shutdown could impact operations there.

"Every shutdown affects us differently because Air Force Reserve headquarters will send down guidance on what individuals and skill sets are considered mission essential and which are not," he said. "And we are actually awaiting that guidance so it's hard to say who will and will not be affected and how our mission will or will not be affected."

Furr said the guidance was expected Friday night.

He said if there is a shutdown, essential services like fire protection, security and air traffic control would remain in place. Flying missions already scheduled for next week would also still happen.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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