Rep. Mary Peltola’s office has started breaking its silence. Two weeks has passed since the death of Eugene Peltola, the congresswoman’s husband, in a plane crash.
The communications director for Peltola said that while Mary Peltola is still home in Alaska grieving with her family, she will return to Washington, D.C. if her vote is needed to avert a “shutdown” of the federal government.
The federal government won’t actually shut down but will lack some spending authority on Sept. 30. Many programs continue, such as military, Department of Homeland Security, and nearly all entitlement payments, such as SNAP benefits and Medicare.
But other programs move into a limited role, and some programs that the public is used to having access to may be temporarily unavailable. Federal workers who are furloughed during a funding pause get all their pay once they are invited to return to work.
Peltola’s vote on this matter is not actually essential, since she is in the Democrat minority in the House.
Certain members of the Republican caucus believe they need to focus leadership’s attention on what is happening not just now, but 10 years from now. The Congressional Budget Office says the nation will be $50 trillion in debt by the end of the decade. The current national debt exceeds $33.1 trillion. That’s $14.3 billion per day being added to U.S. debt in just one week, and with another $3 billion per day of interest expense, it’s over $17 billion per day of added debt.
These Republicans have pushed the issue to try to curb excessive government borrowing.
Peltola also announced that a $50 million grant was awarded by the Department of Energy to replace a coal plant in Healy with wind energy and pumped thermal energy storage, which Peltola says will lead to a more reliable Railbelt electric power grid “and showing that Alaska is a natural proving ground for clean energy technology.”