Gov't Shutdown Spurs Impact, Reaction Across TN - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Gov't Shutdown Spurs Impact, Reaction Across TN

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Wednesday the government shutdown was in its 16th day making the debate resonate far past Washington D.C. while the country is on the brink of defaulting on its national debt.

That back-and-forth is evident here in Middle Tennessee, where the shutdown has caused some impacts.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is nearly 80% federally funded. Since last week they've had to furlough 369 people until the federal government restarts.

A few thousand federal employees in Tennessee who have been furloughed are causing a spike in the unemployment claims call volume, a spokesman said.  The system can already take hours to process claims, but we're told traditional claims shouldn't be impacted too much.

The political divide is obvious across party lines here.

Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Baptist Church held a press conference Wednesday telling reporters people in his congregation and community are tired of seeing Americans held hostage just because of healthcare.

"The Tea Party is engaging in economic terrorism," Fuzz said.  "President Obama should not back down from the Affordable Care Act. Those are the kinds of things that members of my congregation say, and members of my community say."

But Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham says the shutdown has been worth it if it means stopping rising national debt or delaying the Affordable Care Act.

"It was worth using the leverage that the Republicans had. Absolutely," Cunningham said. "The Tea Party is a threat to anybody who wants a big, authoritarian, broke federal government and that's what we've got now."

The shutdown's impacts have greatly impacted East Tennessee and the nation's most visited national park. Tuesday, Governor Bill Haslam announced the state is paying a majority of the $300,500 cost to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park through Sunday.

"We love this place. It's so peaceful, so beautiful and we're so glad they opened it back up today so we could come," one visitor told Knoxville CBS affiliate WVLT-TV Wednesday.

Until a deal is reached, local leaders have very differing opinions that are not only dividing the country, but they hope to echo to their communities and parties.

"Standup against the jihadist-type terrorism that's polarizing this great nation," Fuzz said of his congregation.

"Nobody wants to destroy the country. Nobody wants to default. What we're trying to do is get on a path to sustainability," Cunningham went on to say.

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