Federal Government Shutdown Underway - WSPA.com

Federal Government Shutdown Underway

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The partial government shutdown that began today is throwing the household finances of some federal workers into turmoil -- not just in the Washington area, but around the country. The partial government shutdown that began today is throwing the household finances of some federal workers into turmoil -- not just in the Washington area, but around the country.
WASHINGTON -

WATCH LIVE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN COVERAGE

Budget battle no sign of easing - October 2, 2013 8:30 a.m.

The political stare-down in Washington shows no signs of easing, leaving much of the federal government closed, with lawmakers from both parties ominously suggesting that the partial shutdown might last for weeks.

The shutdown was sparked by a fight over Republican attempts to kill or delay the new health care law, stalling what usually is a routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to open the government piecemeal, funding politically popular programs like the national parks.

Iconic parks like Yellowstone and Alcatraz Island were shuttered, government websites went dark and hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers reported for a half-day to fill out time cards, hand in their government cellphones and laptops and change voice mail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown.

Americans see impact of federal shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.

The partial government shutdown that began today is throwing the household finances of some federal workers into turmoil -- not just in the Washington area, but around the country.

Darquez Smith is a park ranger in Dayton, Ohio, and he's about to become a father. He says he already lives paycheck-to-paycheck while putting himself through college, and he's worried about what he'll do if the checks stop coming.

A building mechanic at a Smithsonian museum in Washington, Robert Turner, is headed to the Maryland shore until he's called back. He says if he's not back to work by the end of next week, he'll have to find a job, since he doesn't want to eat into savings.

Across the country, the impact of the shutdown is immediate and far-reaching for some Americans, but minimal for others.

In Colorado, where flooding killed eight people earlier this month, the emergency money to help rebuild homes and businesses will continue to flow -- but federal worker furloughs could slow it down.

Even programs that aren't immediately affected could run out of cash if the shutdown drags on. The head of the Ohio Head Start Association says the preschool learning programs will be in jeopardy if a shutdown lasts more than two weeks.

Federal shutdown scraps games at service academies - October 1, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.

The Defense Department says it has temporarily suspended all sports competitions at the service academies as a result of the partial government shutdown.

The decision jeopardizes this weekend's football games - Air Force at Navy and Army at Boston College.

A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, says the suspension is being reviewed by Pentagon lawyers to determine whether funds used for these activities are congressionally appropriated funds.

The U.S. Naval Academy said in a statement that a decision will made Thursday on whether the Midshipmen will play Saturday.

The Navy-Howard soccer match scheduled for Tuesday night was called off and it's not known if the game will be made up.

House to pass bills to reopen national parks, VA - October 1, 2013 at 2:27 P.M.

Republicans say the GOP-controlled House intends to pass legislation to reopen portions of the government, including national parks and processing of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The House would also allow the government of Washington, D.C. to use its own taxpayer funds to provide services like garbage pickup, as well as keep D.C. employees on the job.

The closure of national parks is among the most visible effects of the partial government shutdown that hit the government after midnight on Monday. It would reopen gates and visitors centers at iconic parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone.

While VA hospitals remain open and veterans benefits continue to be paid, the legislation would allow claims processors to continue to work on the agency's lengthy backload of applications.

IRS: No tax refunds during government shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.

The Internal Revenue Service says you must pay your taxes during the government shutdown. But don't expect any refunds.

The IRS said Tuesday it will gladly accept tax returns and payments during the shutdown. In fact, they are required by law.

But, the agency said, it will not issue any tax refunds until the government resumes normal operations.

Most Americans filed their taxes in the spring. But more than 12 million filers asked for an automatic six-month extension, and those returns are due Oct. 15.

Got questions? Sorry, IRS call centers will not be manned, though automated ones are still running.

The agency did issue a temporary reprieve to taxpayers who are getting audited. Audits will also be suspended until the government starts back up.

Obama: Shutdown is result of ideological crusade - October 1, 2013 at 1:18 p.m.

President Barack Obama says House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an "ideological crusade" against his health care law.

Obama is speaking in the Rose Garden on the first day of the government shutdown. He says the longer the shutdown continues, the worse the impact will be.

The president says Republicans should not be able to hold the entire economy "hostage." He is urging them to reopen the government quickly and allow furloughed federal employees to go back to work.

The government shut down because Congress did not pass a funding bill ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Veterans pass barriers at closed WWII memorial - October 1, 2013 at 1:10 p.m.


A group of veterans walked past barriers at the closed World War II memorial with help from members of Congress.

Hundreds of veterans arrived for a previously scheduled visit to the memorial Tuesday morning to find it barricaded by the National Park Service. Members of Congress, including Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, went to the site after receiving panicked emails and cut police tape to let in the veterans from Iowa and Mississippi.

Bachman says it was "pure joy" when the veterans were allowed in because they had traveled so far. She says members of Congress plan to continue coming down to the memorial to ensure veterans can visit.

Park spokeswoman Carol Johnson says the service didn't want to keep veterans out, but the agency was directed to close all memorials.

Obama calls for quick end to government shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama is telling federal workers he hopes Washington quickly resolves the government shutdown that has forced many out the door.

In a letter emailed to federal employees, Obama says the shutdown was "completely preventable." And he calls on the House of Representatives to pass a law reopening the government and giving workers back pay.

The president also laments that government employees have become "punching bags" in Washington's partisan fiscal fights. About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job because Congress did not pass a bill to keep the government funded ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Obama says that if the shutdown continues, it will make it more difficult to recruit talented people for government jobs.

Republican says shutdown could drag on - October 1. 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

One conservative House Republican is predicting that the partial shutdown of the government that began today will drag on, if President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats don't negotiate over delaying a key part of the new health care law.


Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tells Fox News that "people are going to realize they can live with a lot less government."

But a top Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, tells CNN he hopes the standoff can be resolved by the end of the day.

President Barack Obama is planning a lunch-hour speech in the Rose Garden today, after meeting with citizens signing up for his health-care program.

His communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, tells MSNBC that the White House is open to changes in the health care law in future negotiations, but not as part of passing a budget bill. She says those ideas won't be considered "when there is a gun pointed to your head."

Federal workers considered nonessential have about four hours to get their offices in order today, and then they'll have to go home.

Washington sees impact of shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.

Traffic has been lighter and the subways less crowded today in Washington, on the first day of a partial government shutdown.

The White House is operating with a skeletal staff, including household workers taking care of the first family's residence, and presidential aides working in the West Wing. A groundskeeper working outside at daybreak said he was doing a job normally handled by four workers.

Outside the Capitol and its adjacent visitor center early today, there were no signs warning tourists they wouldn't be admitted for the usual tours. A Capitol Police officer standing outside an entrance said he'd be breaking the bad news to the visitors.

The Smithsonian museums website displayed a red banner noting that "all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed." On the zoo's website, panda mom Mei Xiang could be seen snuggling with her weeks-old cub through the morning, until the feed was abruptly cut off around 8 a.m. Care of the animals will continue.

Obama to address nation on partial gov't shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 9:44 a.m.

President Barack Obama is getting ready to address the American people as the federal government moves ahead with a partial shutdown and new health insurance exchanges are launching under his health care law.

The White House says Obama will deliver a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House at  12:25 p.m. EDT. He also plans to meet in the Oval Office with a group of citizens who are participating in the new health care program.

Obama addresses military as gov't shuts down - October 1, 2013, at 12:11 a.m.

President Barack Obama is telling members of the military he'll work to get Congress to re-open the government as soon as possible.

Obama is addressing troops in a video message after Congress missed a midnight deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.

Obama says troops in uniform will remain on duty as usual. He says he's signed a law ensuring troops get paid on time. He says ongoing operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere will continue and the U.S. will ensure those in harm's way have what they need.

But Obama says Defense Department civilians may be furloughed. He says that compounds the damage from spending cuts that have already affected the military.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers will be off the job Monday, but some essential services will continue.

Congress misses deadline for averting shutdown - October 1, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.

Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.

As the clock struck midnight Monday, House Republicans were demanding that the Senate negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law. Minutes before midnight, the White House ordered a shutdown.

The Democratic Senate on Monday twice rejected GOP demands to delay key portions of what has become to known as Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open.

An estimated 800,000 federal workers faced furloughs though many were told work a half day Tuesday. Critical functions like air traffic control and military operations will continue. Social Security benefits will be paid. National parks and most federal offices will close.

White House tells agencies gov't will shut down - October 1, 2013 at 12:02 a.m.

The White House's budget office says it's notifying federal agencies that the government will shut down Tuesday.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said late Monday in a memorandum to agency heads that there was no indication Congress would approve a short-term funding measure before the midnight deadline. She said federal agencies should execute their plans for an orderly shutdown.

Burwell said the Obama administration urged Congress to move quickly so critical government services could be restored. She said a shutdown affects hundreds of thousands of workers who will be sent home and inconveniences millions who rely on federal services.

She said some critical functions, like the military and air traffic control, would remain open.

Earlier in the evening as the Senate debated, President Barack Obama signed legislation that ensured military personnel would hget paid during any government shutdown.

Shutdown showdown intensifies over Obamacare delay - September 30, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

The White House and congressional Democrats say House approval of a delay in President Barack Obama's health care law does nothing but push the government closer to a partial shutdown in less than 48 hours.   

The Republican-run House voted 231-192 early Sunday to delay Obamacare for a year while also providing funds so federal offices won't have to close Tuesday morning.

Democrats oppose the health care delay and another provision: A repeal of a medical device tax that helps finance the 2010 health care overhaul.

With the political stakes mounting with each tick of the clock, the White House says Obama will veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

It's doubtful it will get that far - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it will die in his chamber.

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