January 4, 2019

Report: NM hardest-hit state by government shutdown

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

New Mexico is the state hardest hit by the now two-week-old government shutdown.

That’s according to WalletHub, which found the District of Columbia is the only place in the United States more affected by the shutdown.

New Mexico receives the fourth-highest amount of federal contract dollars per capita, behind only Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia as well as the third-highest percentage of families receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

New Mexico’s two national laboratories, Los Alamos and Sandia, are not directly impacted by the current government shutdown, because of a 2018 appropriations bill to fund the U.S. Department of Energy even when other federal workers are sent home without pay. The U.S. Department of Defense is also not impacted.

But other departments with large presences in New Mexico, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are impacted by the shut down. Employees not considered “essential” are placed on unpaid leave. And contractors with the federal government have either been furloughed or received “stop work orders,” according to HuffPost.

While federal workers will likely receive back pay when the government is once again funded, contractors will not.

Thursday, the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to open up the government. All three congressional delegates from New Mexico voted for the legislation. But President Donald Trump has said he would oppose any effort to reopen the government without funding for an unpopular border wall between the United States and Mexico, and the Republican majority in the Senate will not take up any bill Trump opposes.