In rural Georgia, U.S. government shutdown gets mixed reception

Wed Oct 2, 2013 7:09pm EDT
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By Steve Norder

ROME, Georgia (Reuters) - In the bustling, tree-lined business district of Rome, Georgia, deli owner Charlie Schroeder lauded Republican Representative Tom Graves this week for his pivotal role in shutting down the U.S. government for the first time in 17 years.

"It is like the sequester," said Schroeder, 64, referring to this year's deep cuts in government spending. "The administration made us think the world will end. As far as I can see, nothing was hurt. We need to do whatever we need to get rid of Obamacare."

The shutdown, a result of the standoff between Republicans and Democrats over President Barack Obama's controversial healthcare law, has sent as many as 1 million federal government workers home without pay, including many White House staff, and disrupted some services - including closing national parks, threatening to delay the publication of sensitive economic data, reducing research programs, and shuttering a flu monitoring program.

In Rome, a city of about 36,000 people in the northwest Georgia congressional district represented by Graves in his second full term, it has pretty much been business as usual this week. The federal courthouse and Social Security office were open; the only unusual closure was the local Internal Revenue Service office.

"There is nothing wrong with that," said Schroeder, smiling.

His views were shared by some - but not all - among about a dozen people contacted by Reuters this week on the streets and inside businesses in Graves' overwhelmingly Republican Southern district, more than 600 miles from Washington, D.C.

David Doss, a 58-year-old real estate developer who describes himself as a die-hard Republican, said Graves and his House colleagues went too far.

"It is irresponsible on the part of Congress to shut down the government and be unwilling to compromise on any issue," Doss said. "I certainly am disappointed in (Graves') involvement in this strategy."   Continued...