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Flores hopes shutdown ends before more Brazos Valley agencies feel impact

By Jordan Overturf 
jordan.overturf@theeagle.com  
 
U.S. Congressman Bill Flores said in a teleconference Wednesday afternoon that research programs at Texas A&M University have not been affected by the government shutdown. But if the shutdown continues, he added, research institutions such as A&M will eventually be impacted.
 
"At this point in time, we have not heard of any slowdown of grant money to research institutions," he said, adding "nor have we been advised by any federal agency that they're holding back research grants."
 
Flores said his goal is to get the shutdown resolved before it does impact those programs.
 
Flores continued to tout the appropriations bills passed by Congress to help fund myriad programs, including FEMA, WIC, Head Start, the FDA and pay for federal employees who continue to work.
 
"Altogether, if you take all 14 of these [appropriations bills] ... [the House] has appropriated somewhere in the neighborhood of about 40 percent of the total amount that was included in the original continuing resolution that the House passed four times and that the Senate rejected four times," he said.
 
The full effect of the government shutdown on Flores' district is still unknown. Flores said he is looking into the total number of people and entities that are feeling the pressure of the shutdown.
 
"Unfortunately, I still don't have an answer. The people that track that have been deemed to be nonessential and furloughed. It's hard. We have a second source looking, but they are inundated and working on a skeleton staff," the congressman said.
 
The George Bush Presidential Library and two parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Somerville remained closed on Wednesday. While employees of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are still working, a lack of federal funding is keeping the group from releasing its weekly crop and weather report.
 
There has been some speculation about the number of House Republicans who would support a continuing resolution bill, but Flores is not included in that group. When asked directly if he would support a straightforward continuing resolution, Flores said, "My vote would be 'no' at this time." The congressman believes if a continuing resolution is put up and fails it will cause more damage to the U.S. economy.
 
"If you put a clean CR on the floor and it fails ... then you suddenly inject another level of uncertainty into the American economy because people think this thing is going to be more protracted than it is," he said.
 
"I really don't think it would pass based on the real world on the House floor, not the world as some people would like to spin it."
 
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