VA hospital

The Tomah VA hospital is unaffected by the partial shutdown of the federal government. Funding for veterans programs is guaranteed by a previous appropriation passed by Congress.

The partial shutdown of the federal government that began Dec. 22 will have little effect on Monroe County and the city of Tomah, according to local leaders.

Roger Gorius, Tomah city administrator said the city has little interaction with the federal government other than following federal rules and regulations. He said most city operations are funded with local money.

“The federal government doesn’t affect us,” Gorius said.

He said federal housing programs could be impacted “if this goes on indefinitely,” but expects the city’s day-to-day operations to be unaffected.

The Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center is not affected by the shutdown, said Matt Gowan, Tomah VA public affairs officer. VA funding was assured by a resolution passed late last year.

“The VA has an absolute full year of appropriation and is not affected by any part of the shutdown,” Gowan said. “VA service continues uninterrupted, and employees continue to get their normal paychecks.”

Monroe County Administrator Jim Bialecki said no county departments are affected by the shutdown except perhaps the Women, Infants and Children’s food and nutrition service. He hasn’t heard from any other departments about issues raised the shutdown.

WIC is run by the Monroe County Health Department, and everything is running as usual, said health department director Sharon Nelson. She said the department is open and operating with its usual hours at the clinic.

Nelson said no appointments are being cancelled.

“Here in Wisconsin we have some reserve funding, and that has allowed us to remain open during this shutdown,” she said. “It’s hard to predict what will happen long-term wise, but right now we’re open for business as usual. At this point we have adequate funding to remain open and are still encouraging folks to make appointments with us and to come in as planned.”

If anything changes, there are supplemental funds available from the state and federal WIC program, Nelson said.

“In our county, we have about 700 participants, and about half of them are children,” she said. “At this point we have adequate funds to remain open for some time ... if eventually there are changes, we will be contacting them and giving direction from the state and federal WIC programs.”

Gorius hopes the shutdown is ended soon.

“I’d like them to quit it as soon as possible,” he said. “I feel that they’re elected to do a job, and all have their own agendas, but shutting down the government is not an option ...I guess I want them to grow up and put their big boy and big girl pants on like we do.”

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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