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Gov. Deval Patrick tried to reassure state workers about the ongoing partial federal government shutdown Friday, even as he warned that an extended shutdown poses a threat to Massachusetts.
Patrick said in a message to workers Friday that his administration is keeping a close eye on the shutdown and is using every resource of state government to help keep services up and running. But he cautioned that the state cannot fill the funding gaps left open by the shutdown indefinitely.
"Here's what I can safely tell you right now," Patrick said. "The shutdown is hurting Massachusetts. Federal contracts going unfunded and federal programs at risk of running out of money do both direct and indirect harm to our people, our businesses and our economy."
Patrick, who is currently on a trade mission to Canada, said the shutdown also threatens those state programs that are funded in whole or in part with federal grants.
In those cases, Patrick said, there is the potential for furloughs and layoffs, although that's not imminent.
"We are taking this situation seriously, and will use every flexibility and resource we have to keep state government fully functioning," Patrick said in his statement.
Patrick, a Democrat and close ally of President Obama, said governors from across the political spectrum have called on Congress to reopen the federal government, pass a budget, and reimburse states for the costs incurred during the shutdown.
Patrick's message came a day after the state's all-Democratic U.S. House delegation appealed to Republican Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on a resolution to end the government shutdown.
The eight representatives say Boehner should let the House vote on a so-called "clean continuing resolution" that would restart the government without outside provisions. House Republicans have brought resolutions to end the shutdown, but some of those would have also defunded or delayed Obama's health care law.
The delegation also wants a debate to raise the nation's debt limit free of outside provisions or conditions.
This article was originally published on October 11, 2013.
This program aired on October 11, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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