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KAREN LEÓN

Updates from the Central Gulf Coast on News, Technology, and Education.

Tampa Bay Residents Affected Financially Due To Government Shutdown

Federal government civilian workers and non-essential retired military are suffering financially due to Congresses inability to finance the government.

On October 1, 2013, the United States government shut down due to Congress not being able to come to a budgetary agreement in Washington D.C. concerning fiscal year 2013-2014. Due to the shutdown millions of Americans are financially affected from civilian employees to retired (non-essential) military employees.

Steven Biedinger's Personal Shadow Box

Steven Biedinger’s Personal Shadow Box (Photo/Karen Leon)

Steve Biedinger, from New Port Richey, Fla. retired from the Navy. Mr. Biedinger is concerned because his future payments of disability are in question.  He has had to prioritize and shift his finances around to meet financial commitments due to the government shutdown. “When you have to readjust the way your money is allocated it is on you not the government.” A question Mr. Biedinger posed was “How come congress gets paid and veterans don’t?” This is the same question millions of Americans have asked.

Unfortunately, at this time it is becoming more difficult to get Veteran Services because government workers have been furloughed which has affected normal services for disabled veterans.  After 24 years of honorable service it pains Mr. Biedinger to see people who have no idea of what it means to put one’s life on the line and controlling the destiny of the young men and women who give everything even if it meant giving up their own life while serving their country.

Susan Biedinger, wife of Steve Biedinger from New Port Richey, Fla. is a veteran from the United States Marines.  At this time she has seen many people in her life directly affected by this government shutdown. Currently, she has a friend who is not receiving disability payments and her income has also been stopped.  Mrs. Biedinger feels “this is a travesty especially after serving three years in the U.S. Marines.”  She continued by stating “Is it not enough that they have sacrificed time away from their families and also put their lives at risk by not being there for them?”

“People in society need to realize the impact this shutdown is having on family benefits. Some of those benefits are used for direct care of the family as well as child support,” mentioned Susan. Currently, many of these family’s financial needs are not being met and has raised concern, as the insecurity is exasperating their health both mentally and physically, and their sense of financial security from the government.

Furthermore, several local GOP members are currently reconsidering their parties’ shutdown goals due to the financing disputes over the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.  Representative Kathy Castor of Tampa feels that members of the GOP are holding American citizens as hostages due to the government shutdown. “They say they’re in favor of (ending the shutdown), but then they vote to keep it from coming up,” Castor said. “It’s hypocritical, but more importantly it is causing real economic harm to families and business owners all across the country…this brinkmanship simply has to end.”

Globally, how does the world view the U.S. shutdown? Foreign investors outside of the United States are concerned as to whether or not the United States will pay its debt which could affect the value of the United States Treasury Bonds which are their main investments. The nation as a whole is frustrated with our legislators and wants this shutdown over with needing to know where it’s headed.

Mr. Biedinger feels there should be a movement by the voters during the next election season to remove members of congress and replace them with new faces and with fresh ideas. A large majority of Americans have been polled and the results show they are ready to fire all of Congress. “Welcome to the worst parts of socialism. The rich and the elite have everything and the poor have nothing. There is no middle class.  You are either rich or poor,” said Biedinger.

We the people need to take a stand and partake in our obligations as United States citizens and vote during the next Congressional election.

The department of defense has been a support entity for many years, now it is time for the United States to take action and do the right thing by them.

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