A bipartisan group of San Diego City Council members Monday called on Congress to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, which could begin at 9 p.m. Pacific time.
Tuesday begins the new federal fiscal year, but the House and Senate still have to approve legislation to fund federal operations.
Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over whether to pay for health care reform this year. The Senate has voted 54-46 – along party lines – to reject a House bill that funds the federal government without paying for President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The federal government will be unable to make many of its payments beginning Tuesday unless the two sides reach a compromise.
If the government is shut down, it's unclear how long it would last. The last time something like this happened, in the mid-1990s, it went on for about three weeks.
"This city and its citizens already are suffering from the dire effects of sequestration," Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said at a news conference. "A government shutdown would be a double-whammy, with devastating effects on our businesses, residents and operation of local, county and state governments."
Sequestration is a term for automatic spending cuts that went into effect earlier this year when Congress and the Obama administration failed to reach an agreement on deficit reduction.
Lightner said the potential direct impacts of a government shutdown on the city were unclear. Both city and county officials said the effect on their own operations would largely be indirect, such as lower sales tax revenue in the future.
The impact on residents, particularly in defense-heavy San Diego, could be significant, however. Among others, 26,000 local civilian employees of the Defense Department could be sent home on furloughs Tuesday.
Services for veterans will continue, and officials at the national cemeteries at Fort Rosecrans and Miramar said they will continue their burial operations.
National parks, including the Cabrillo National Monument, would close Tuesday if Congress can't reach a deal.
Airport operations and mail delivery are not expected to be impacted.
The city currently has a delegation in Washington, D.C., led by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, council members Mark Kersey and Lorie Zapf, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, and numerous business leaders.
Lightner and the other council members at the news conference – David Alvarez, Myrtle Cole, Marti Emerald and Scott Sherman – called on the delegation to make it clear that they oppose a shutdown.
– City News Service