EVERETT — The federal government shutdown has hit home locally, as Naval Station Everett furloughed 43 civilian employees on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and the Smokey Point Commissary at the Navy Support Complex in north Marysville is shutting down starting Wednesday, Oct. 2.
"This morning, all of our workers reported in as usual, so that we could issue notices to those workers who are being furloughed," said Cmdr. Jeff Caulk, commanding officer of Naval Station Everett, on Oct. 1. "Those 43 workers have departed and are being furloughed until this shutdown ends. They work in a variety of departments and divisions, performing several functions across the board."
Caulk emphasized that Naval Station Everett's essential services — including fire, security and port operations — would remain in operation throughout the furlough, and noted that a number of civilian businesses on base, such as restaurants, would also remain open.
"We have a number of civilian employees on base who are paid through non-appropriated funding," Caulk said. "What that means is that they're paid out of the profits of their businesses, and not out of taxpayer dollars."
Caulk agreed with Capt. Christopher Larsen of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a U.S. Army Reserve unit headquartered in north Marysville adjacent to the Navy Support Complex, that they hope the government shutdown will not last long.
"Naval Station Everett, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense all value our civilian employees very highly," Caulk said.
"This affects not only the civilian workers and their families, but every citizen in this country," said Larsen, who estimated the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's furloughed employees number in the hundreds. "The most immediate reality of this furlough for us in the 364th is that our full-time soldiers will have to double up on their workloads to cover the duties of our large civilian workforce."
At the same time, Larsen reassured the public that mission readiness would not be compromised, since military members will continue to receive pay during the furlough.
"We'll be able to keep on supporting our soldiers and our country," Capt. Larsen said.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, of Washington state's 2nd Congressional District, blamed Republicans for what he sees as their role in a government shutdown that will limit services to veterans.
"Republican leaders said they didn't want a shutdown and they didn't want Obamacare," Rep. Larsen said on Monday, Sept. 30. "But on Tuesday morning, we'll wake up to a government that is shut down and Obamacare in full operation. Thousands of Washington residents will be able to enroll in high-quality health care plans they never had access to before."
Fellow U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, of the state's 1st Congressional District, pledged to return her personal salary to the U.S. Treasury for the duration of the shutdown.
"For as long as this unnecessary shutdown occurs, hundreds of thousands of public servants will be working without pay," DelBene said. "Families, children, seniors, veterans and businesses across Washington state are counting on all members of Congress to work together and do their job."
"Tonight I join with so many Washington families in being frustrated and disappointed that House Republicans have shut down the federal government over a crisis of their own creation," U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said on Sept. 30. "Shutting down the government over a law that has, and will continue to, provide Washington families with access to affordable health care is the height of irresponsibility, and Washington state families deserve better."