It’s unclear exactly how many Connecticut residents are out of work or are missing paychecks as a result of the federal government shutdown, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that things will start to get more critical for the state on Nov. 1.
“What a terrible mess,” Malloy said after an unrelated event in West Haven. “I hope they resolve this thing.”
According to reports from Washington, Senate Democrats and Republicans seem to be close to striking a deal that increases the debt ceiling until Feb. 15 and reopens government until Jan. 15. It’s unclear if the House leadership is on board.
The deadline to increase the debt ceiling is Thursday, Oct. 17. If the United States defaults, it means the government won’t have enough money to pay its bills.
“Going without resetting the debt limit would be a catastrophe for the United States, for world markets,” Malloy said. “I think it’s a very dangerous game they’re playing in Washington. They need to get this worked on.”
But at the moment there’s not much the state of Connecticut can do except wait.
“I think this thing gets critical around Nov. 1 so if there’s not resolution shortly we’ll have to take on some additional responsibilities, so that people have the services necessary for them to survive,” Malloy said.
Sgt. Micah Welintukonis, an Army veteran, started an online petition that asks for the state of Connecticut to step in and help make disability payments to veterans if the federal government remains shuttered. There are an estimated 11,000 Connecticut veterans receiving disability and education benefits from the federal government.
“I think veterans payments would be tough,” Malloy said. “We have a lot of veterans in this state.”
But with respect to critical need, Malloy said the state may have to step in and help some of the neediest veterans.
When it comes to prioritizing the state’s commitment to federally funded programs and services or benefits, Malloy said the state would focus on vulnerable populations such as children, women, the elderly, and some veterans.
“We continue to be in a process of analysis,” Malloy said.
Beyond the $800,000 the state gave to the Head Start program in Bridgeport last week, no firm decisions have been made about how the state would use its resources.
According to state Treasurer Denise Nappier, the state’s cash flow is healthy. She said she will be allowing a $300 million line of credit to expire in December.
Even thought the state obtained the line of credit, Nappier said she never used it.