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Gov. Hickenlooper Calls Federal Lawmakers ‘Knuckleheads’

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A displeased Gov. John Hickenlooper at a news conference on Monday (credit: CBS)

A displeased Gov. John Hickenlooper at a news conference on Monday (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – The federal government is the state of Colorado’s largest employer with approximately 40,000 people on the payroll. In Colorado the effect of a partial government shutdown would be felt by different people in different ways.

Tourists who want to see the fall colors and elk in Rocky Mountain National Park would be turned away, because if the government closes, so does the park. But it could mean much more for Colorado’s flood rebuilding. Gov. John Hickenlooper has been using words like “cruel” and “knuckleheads.”

As people are trying to rebuild their lives after losing many, if not all of their possessions in the historic flooding, Hickenlooper feels the timing is bad for the state and bad for the people.

“To have a shutdown in Washington I think demoralizes them at a time when they need to believe in government,” Hickenlooper said. “I think in that sense it’s cruel timing.”

He said the National Guard with more than 100 engineers working on getting roads rebuilt would be affected by a shutdown. The National Guard has been working on roads such as Highway 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon and Highway 36 to Estes Park. The funding is at stake.

The governor did not use words of respect.

“If these knuckleheads in Washington can’t get it together then we will pay them (National Guard) out of our emergency management funds,” Hickenlooper said. “We can’t let them stop the work we are doing — we just can’t.”

A federal shutdown would not only close Rocky Mountain National Park, but all other national park facilities around the country.

A shutdown will not affect getting a passport, Social Security checks will not stop, and the mail will still go through. Senators and representatives will still get paid.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will keep operating with its flood relief operations.

The federal courts are expected to keep going for now but the system only has money for 10 days. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would scale back operations which could mean postponing some cases.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

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