Get out of town: Shutdown talk spooks passport-seekers
Martin Cummins and Shannon Sauceda shared a spot in line Friday at the Los Angeles passport agency.
April 8th, 2011
04:32 PM ET

Get out of town: Shutdown talk spooks passport-seekers

The prospect of a federal government shutdown had would-be travelers scrambling to passport offices Friday.

About 50 people were waiting outside the Los Angeles passport agency, one of the nation's busiest, when it opened at 7 a.m., said Howard Joseph, customer service manager there.

Los Angeles resident Martin Cummins was trying to get a replacement passport for a trip to Singapore next week to visit his sister and her family.

"It didn't dawn on me until two days ago that (a government shutdown) could affect me," Cummins said. "I realized I had misplaced my passport, so I turned my house upside down. Now I'm a little nervous about this, but I'm here. Let's hope for the best."

Shannon Sauceda of Malibu, California, had lost patience, not with the agency in Los Angeles but with the lawmakers in Washington.

"I blame all of them," she said. "I feel like, Get to the table, do what you need to do, and let the people get on with their business."

Opinion: How we got here

At least 200 patrons had received service by 9 a.m., and they kept coming all day, the line sometimes snaking around the street corner. Yet Joseph didn't think it was particularly hectic.

"It's been very smooth," he said. "But next week could be very different," he added with a smile.

He said a "skeleton crew" would staff the agency in the event of a shutdown, but it would only deal with high-priority cases - what he called "life-and-death emergencies" such as a death overseas.

But Sauceda said the political squabbling was interfering with people's lives.

"It's unfortunate that it would have to affect people that are trying to go on vacation," she said. "I know Congress is still getting paid if they shut down, which is kind of upsetting. It's just a really unfortunate situation for people being affected that really have nothing to do with it.

"I think they should come to some sort of an agreement, today," she continued. "I think it's their responsibility to do that."

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Tyrone


    Former Democrat President Clinton left office with a 800 billion dollar surplus! Republican President G.W. Bush receive that surplus and turn it into a 13 trillion dollar debt! During the time Bush was in office destroying America. With his horrible decisions. NEVER did you hear from Hannity, Palin, Beck and Rush. Claims of run away spending against the Bush‘s administration! NEVER!!!! Republicans pass a prescription plan NOT PAID FOR! Started a war in Iraq for NOTHING ( 4,400 and counting military dead for NOTHING)….. NOT PAID FOR! Started another war in Afghanistan with no plan….NOT PAID FOR! There was over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to date under Bush! Not accounted for in Iraq! Republican today continue to charge President Obama’s administration with spending out of control! To date President Obama’s administration spend 1.5 Trillion dollars in two and a half years! The different between Bush and Obama most of that money was to stop the financial downfall Bush and the Republicans create! (1.) Stimulus Package 750 billion (2.) Unemployment 10 billion (3.) Military 300 billion! All necessary to keep America running! Unlike the Bush administration President Obama is spending money on the American people! To date 500 billion has been paid back from the stimulus package. In the end the stimulus package will earn America 300 billion in profit! To date know one ever talks about the 350 billion dollar stimulus package Bush spent. Nor how did it help or where did it go! Yet President Obama (who is clearly for all Americans) is criticize and called names! For doing the right thing for America! The last time a Republican President had a balance budget was under former President Eisenhower ! The last time the government was shut down was under Republican controlled house! There is so much evident to show how irresponsible and unprofessional Republicans are! Republican model is to take from the poor and the middleclass and give to the rich and super rich! There other model is when you have nothing to say resort to hate and dividing the country!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. angela

    You r a 100 percent correct Tyrone

    April 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    We NEED passports.
    We could skip some trips to national parks.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve-O

    I don't even see why a shutdown should affect passport processing. The $110 I just paid for renewal should cover laminating a photo and making a little book. Now my passport will sit in some warehouse waiting for Congress to quit bickering, even though the government has already cashed my check for the fee. Just like the Post Office stays open during shutdown from postage revenue, I don't see why the Department of State passport offices need to close. This is hurting American business as many business travelers will have to wait for their passports and cancel trips.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BK

    @Steve-o, nobody ever said that politicians were smart.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Clinton's Fault

    If Clinton had done his job and took out Saddam when he was violating the UN instead of leaving it to Bush it would have been on Clintons Dime. If Clinton didn't let terrorist into our country to destroy the Twin Towers bush would not have had to go into Afganistan. Bush blammers need a history lesson. Clinton was doing this in the oval office with Monica not watch out for USA.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • FirstBush

      Wasn't it the first Bush that stopped at Iraq's border?

      April 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yuansomemore

    This party started several presidencies ago. It wasn't the result of a single decision or a single person. It was mostly the result of everyone getting what they wanted all of the time.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nibiru


    April 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. We love shutdown

    shutdown is great.. Shutdown is good.. Shutdown shows the truth of the claims of "crown thy good with brotherhood". Shutdown now or shutdown later..the wealthy and the insider government .mil have a pond filled with child unfriendly alligators.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    @Yuansomemore, no one couldve said it any better. Your post was perfect.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    And Yay! No shut down . Im so relieved for our brave soldiers!

    April 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeffella

    I'm with Tyrone on his opinions! Everything you said, Tyrone, was right on the marker! It's time for the rest of the nation to open their eyes to see what republicans STANDS for. It's time for the American people to become MORE curious of what the right-wing media is up to along with republican politicians future game plans of increasing wealth in their communities, while disabling financial stability in middle-class & poor communities along with non-profit sectors. America, it's time to WAKE UP!

    April 9, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. NotTyrone

    I normally don't respond to any comments I read, but I found the total lack of understanding of the national debt by Tyrone and the people who so adamantly agreed with him shameful. Bill Clinton did not leave office without a national debt. And George W Bush did not create a $14 trillion debt during his presidency. Our country has had a huge debt, in the $ trillions, for decades. Decades. Not just since 2001. Not just this decade. Decades. I'm not going to address all your incorrect points, because you're obviously not going to learn anything anyway, but trying to use real facts and numbers in an argument is much better than just making stuff up.

    April 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shaloke

    yes we have been in debt 4 decades,but clinton had a S.S.surplus & had balanced the budget.The bushies spent the S.S.surplus & plunged us so far in debt it will most likely break this great country.the repubican party is made up of the worst kind of people the rich,reigeous fanatics,war mongers & racists.what has hapend 2 our country was's the corperate plan 4 america,thats why the 4th amendmant was suspended under the patriot act. the worse has yet 2 come. Start pay'n atention. D.S.S.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |