The Hawaii governor’s office is monitoring the possible federal government shutdown as Maui continues to recover from last month’s wildfires.
Several federal agencies are in Hawaii helping with cleanup and housing issues for the survivors of the fire that killed 97 people.
President Joe Biden increased federal funding for debris removal to 100% last week.
“The Governor is in close contact with the White House, FEMA and other federal partners, all of whom are deeply aware that immediate response actions are vital to the continued support of the people of Maui who are suffering,” the governor’s office said in a statement to The Center Square on Wednesday.
Another concern for Hawaiians is the defueling of the Red Hill storage tanks set to begin on October 16. Vice Adm. John Wade said in a video the shutdown would not affect the operation.
“The secretary of defense has exempted all personnel supporting the defueling of Red Hill from furlough and all contracts will remain in place,” Wade said in a video.
Congress has until Saturday to reach an agreement to stave off impacts to multiple programs.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is backing a short-term spending bill to fund the government until Nov. 17.
“This bill is an important first step in bringing more federal disaster relief funding to Maui,” Schatz said in a statement. “We still have more work to do to get this through Congress and signed into law, but this bipartisan bill would avert a government shutdown and keep federal relief dollars flowing to Hawaii.”
The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, but it’s unlikely it will go to the House floor. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told the Republican conference there would be no vote, according to The Hill.
Republican senators are at odds over continued spending to Ukraine, and the stopgap measure includes funding for the country that is at war with Russia.
Biden released a statement Wednesday saying the shutdown would lead to problems at the country’s airports and jeopardize safety. In Hawaii, the shutdown would affect 1,199 transportation security officers and 113 air traffic controllers, the president’s office said.