U.S. Capitol

Dawn arrives at the Capitol in Washington in January 2019.

Local offices of several federal agencies are also feeling the effects of the partial government shutdown.

Personnel at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency office in Walla Walla are on furlough due to the lapse in funding. However, personnel with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, who share the same building at 525 N. 13th Ave., are still operating as of today.

If the NRCS offices are forced to close due to lack of funding, that will affect the Walla Walla County Conservation District, which leases its offices from the NRCS, said Renee Hadley, conservation district manager. If that happens, the conservation district personnel would have to find an alternate place to continue working.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Walla Walla Ranger District office is closed and callers are being greeted by a phone message saying the office is closed due to the lapse in funding.

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District office is open and doing business as usual, said Gina Baltrusch, public information specialist.

In an email, Baltrusch said the three principal appropriation bills that support funding for Corps’ operations were all passed by Congress and signed into law before the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year. Those bills cover virtually all directly-funded Corps activities and an overwhelming majority of the reimbursable work for the remainder of this fiscal year.

The Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center also has not been affected by the shutdown, said Linda Wondra, public affairs officer. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie announced late last month that the agency is fully funded for fiscal year 2019 “and in the event of a partial government shutdown, all VA operations will continue unimpeded.”

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Andy Porter has been with the Union-Bulletin since October 2000. His beats include Walla Walla County, city of College Place, Washington State Penitentiary, agriculture, environment as well as a wide range of general assignment topics.

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