Government shutdown 2013: D.C. services, employees face looming shutdown as well

Mayor Vincent Gray decries federal interference in the District's actions on a regular basis. Photo: Samuel Corum

(WJLA) - The District of Columbia is always at the whim of the federal government when the threat of a government shutdown looms, and as another deadline approaches to keep the government open, the District is once again forced to go on the defensive.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has been on the offensive for the last several weeks, using harsh tones to talk about how his city is treated like a federal agency rather than a jurisdiction.

Washington, of course, requires appropriations from the government spend its own money, even though the majority of it is raised by residents of the District. That means that if a shutdown occurs, as it might next Tuesday, many city services may close down temporarily.

The libraries could close, meaning Christy Lunsford would have no place to take her son for story time.

“It would be very frustrating,” Lunsford says. “It would be very unfortunate to have things like this impact the libraries and other activities.”

Jack Conway's Columbia Heights neighborhood would also be impacted, as trash collection could be suspended for one week after the potential shutdown.

“I think that could lead to other issues coming up,” Conway says. “We've had trouble with rodents in the neighborhood so obviously if the trash isn't getting collected that’s not going to help in that situation.”

REC centers would be shuttered, street sweeping would be halted and the district's DMV would close starting on Tuesday, Oct. 1st.

“It is our busiest day,” says Lucinda Babers, director of the D.C. DMV. “It's our first day of the week and so even if we are back open Wednesday, now Wednesday becomes the busiest day times two.”

Gray says that emergency services, such as the Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Fire/EMS, would remain in operation if the federal government shuts down. The Post's Mike DeBonis says that some D.C. Council members are suggesting that Gray declares all city workers as essential, therefore allowing them to work through a shutdown.

"We're being pulled into a process we should never have been in in the first place," Gray said earlier this week, according to the Post.

The District's government last closed down in November of 1995.