Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter issued the following statement today about the federal government shutdown and fiscal crisis.
With almost two-thirds of Idaho's landmass controlled by the national government, our state and our people are more vulnerable than most to federal dysfunction and mismanagement. That day-to-day vulnerability is magnified when the leaders elected to oversee federal agencies fail in their responsibility to maintain functions that are fundamental to our economy, our communities and our citizens.
Many thousands of Idahoans woke up today desperately uncertain about the future, much less their next paycheck. Congress and the President are so focused on the political battle inside the Beltway that they're ignoring the very real problems they're creating on Main Street.
Idaho forest workers can't harvest timber burned by wildfires on federal land. Idaho-manufactured aircraft can't be delivered because federal inspectors are off the job. And soon thousands of government employees and contractors will be stopped from cleaning up nuclear waste and performing other critical work at the Idaho National Laboratory.
The list goes on. The impacts go far beyond government employees. Our pleas are falling on deaf ears, and our patience is spent. Those of us in State government are doing what we can to backfill such programs as highway construction and repairs, but for the most part we aren't even allowed to step into the breach.
So while Washington, D.C., fiddles, we will keep working to ensure Idaho citizens don't get burned any more than they already have. I'm going back to Washington next week to speak directly with Cabinet members about Idaho's biggest on-the-ground challenges. I'm less than optimistic about the response. But we all must keep trying to make federal "decision makers" understand that this is bigger than all of them.