, Salem, MA

Local News

October 10, 2013

Shutdown shutters fuel assistance


“That program is going to feel the pinch the longer fuel assistance is delayed,” MacNeil said.

“They are having problems with fuel assistance,” said Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, who visited Peabody and Bedford over the weekend to hear from residents about how the government shutdown has affected them.

Applications for U.S. Small Business Administration loans from businesses seeking capital to expand are not being processed, Tierney said. The state is losing $200,000 a day because the SBA does not have staff to process loans.

“The Small Business Administration gives out $1 billion in loans every month, and that’s not happening,” said President Barack Obama during a press conference Tuesday afternoon streamed live on the White House website.

There are other unintended consequences, Tierney said. For those seeking to buy a home, the IRS has slowed the flow of information needed to process mortgages. Furloughed government workers are having difficulty paying childcare expenses, and many wonder if they will lose their slots in these programs, Tierney said. He heard from a constituent who said a National Institutes of Health clinical trial for Parkinson’s disease for his wife had been delayed.

Over the weekend, Tierney visited a table staffed by volunteers outside the Salem Visitor Center to provide information to tourists flooding into the city during the busy Haunted Happenings season.

Tierney said the shutdown could end at any time with a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.

“We could solve it in five seconds if the speaker (John Boehner, R-Ohio) would bring a bill to the floor.”

On Tuesday, Tierney was criticized by the National Republican Congressional Committee for voting against a bill that passed the House that would restore government funding for Head Start programs to benefit low-income women and children.

“John Tierney’s vote against low-income women and children in Massachusetts is shameful, and he owes the millions of participants in this crucial program an explanation for why he thinks it’s acceptable to cut their funding due to petty partisan politics,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek, in a prepared statement.

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