In Ohio, to be eligible for unemployment compensation, individuals must have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. When they apply for unemployment compensation, state officials check with their former employers to determine the reason for their unemployment.
Officials at the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the agency in charge of managing unemployment benefits, will be calling on 6,020 out of 75,800 federal workers who live and work in the state and who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. In fact, their former employer, the federal government, was shutdown when the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio Congressman John A. Boehner, catered to the ideological whims of a minority of his Majority Caucus instead of acting in the best interest of the nation.
Even Congressman Boehner's district, which he's represented at the Statehouse in Columbus or Congress in Washington for about four decades, is now feeling the pain of the partial federal government shutdown, while others are becoming anxious about his standoff with President Barack Obama, according to a report Thursday in the Dayton Daily News on his 8th District, which he's represented in Washington since 1990.
Not only would these workers be back on the job, but a report Thursday that looked at the impact on Ohio from the federal government shutdown, said local economies and housing markets would be better off as well.
The report's author, Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit group based in Cleveland that studies economics, said a shutdown that lasts just a few days will not have major consequences for most people. If it remains in place, she said, many will be impacted and consequences will be severe.
Based on Congressional Budget Office information, a one-year delay of the individual mandate would raise the number of uninsured Americans by about 11 million in 2014, relative to current law, and would reduce the expected coverage gains under the ACA by nearly 85 percent, Patton wrote.
"Welding these two policy items together – funding government services and delaying health reform – is deeply harmful to the nation," she said of attempts by Republicans in Washington, especially in the House, to attach a delay of the Affordable Care Act to a routine vote to fund the government. Many Republicans are vehement in their opposition to the health law, Patton acknowledged, but it has been upheld in the Supreme Court and the President who campaigned on it and won a second term by beating the Republican candidate who wanted to repeal it.
But former Mayor of Cleveland, two-term governor of Ohio and two-term U.S. Senator George Voinovich had harsher words for the antics of Speaker Boehner, his ideological North Star Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and the fraction of the Congress who still align with the Tea Party even though support for it has sunk to less than one in four people.
In an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Voinovich expressed the frustration shared by many Ohioans.
"To say that we have arrived at a time where Congress is unable to pass a budget, or even a continuing resolution, disheartens and demoralizes me. It is shameful that a small group of Republicans in the House of Representatives has held hostage our country’s budget over a piece of legislation that was passed by Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Although many, including myself who voted against the measure, do not fully agree with the Affordable Care Act, there is an acceptable political process for reform and it does not including holding our government, economy and people hostage."
Ohio has many agencies, particularly in health and human services, that get substantial funding from the federal government, PMO noted. And the longer the shutdown goes, the harder it will hit Buckeyes who are very young, elderly or disabled, and the workers who provide them services, said Patton.
Furloughed workers will harmed, but so will the communities they live in as as small businesses near closed federal facilities and towns near closed national parks and others, like homebuyers unable to close on loans because of documents needed from the IRS or other federal agencies struggle.
Should the shutdown continue, Patton says the impact will spread to low-income families as funds for critical services run out, including programs like the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and food assistance.
"The federal government provides more than two-thirds of the funding for some of Ohio’s health and human services agencies and programs," she notes, adding, "While programs generally have sufficient funds to provide services through October, a shutdown that drags into November threatens a range of services, from TANF to Head Start, WIC and SNAP."
Among places hurt by a federal shutdown, rural infrastructure projects are slowing, housing markets are stalling and national parks in Ohio have closed. PMO's report cited the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and public health workers in Cincinnati as two examples of the shutdown's impact in Ohio.
"Initial impacts may seem minor, but the shutdown threatens workers, businesses and homebuyers,” said Patton, a senior project director at PMO. "The damage will spread if the shutdown doesn’t end. Many more people, families and communities – in Ohio and across the nation – will be severely hurt."
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