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As lawmakers continue their negotiations over government funding, it's unclear -- even to some in Congress -- what their end game is.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., has been skewered by his fellow lawmakers for admitting as much, when he told the Washington Examiner, "We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
While visiting a small business in Rockville, Md., on Thursday, President Obama retorted, "If you're being disrespected, it's because of that attitude you got, that you deserve something for doing your job."
What lawmakers "get," he said, is the opportunity to serve the American people. "The American people aren't in the mood to give you a goody bag to go with it."
In Stutzman's defense, the goal posts during the ongoing government spending debate have continued to move.
In September, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, representing conservatives in Congress, said he would do "everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including attempting to filibuster any government funding bill that does not defund the health care law. A number of Republicans opposed that strategy, noting that the implementation of the health care law can't be stopped unless it is repealed outright. Indeed, a major portion of Obamacare when into effect on Tuesday -- the very day the government partially shut down.
Still, the House passed a spending bill (referred to as a continuing resolution, or CR) that would have kept the government open while attempting to defund Obamacare. The Senate quickly rejected it. After that, the House passed two subsequent spending bills that delayed the health care law for a year; those bills were also killed in the Senate.
In a memo to House Republicans Thursday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wrote, "We must also not forget what we are fighting for: fairness and equal treatment under the law. Under Obamacare."
On a discussion caught on mic Wednesday night, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that softening their demand from defunding Obamacare to simply delaying it for a year was a winning strategy. "I think if we keep saying, 'We wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we're willing to compromise on this'... We're going to win this, I think."
Democrats, meanwhile, seem to think they're winning. An unnamed senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal, "We are winning... It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."
Again, the question is winning what?
"This isn't some damn game," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in response to that anonymous quote. "The American people don't want their government shut down, and neither do I. All we're asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare."
Mr. Obama on Friday responded to the quote, remarking, "There's no winning when families don't have certainty about whether or not they're going to get paid or not... As long as [federal workers are] off the job, nobody's winning, and that's the point. We should get this over with as soon as possible."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., suggested on Friday that Republicans already won by getting Democrats to agree to a spending level $70 billion lower than what Democrats wanted.
"I'm not sure anyone comprehends... how difficult it was to negotiate the number that Speaker Boehner said we would have to agree to get a clean CR," Reid said. "I did that in the good faith that the compromise and negotiations I made with Speaker Boehner would bear fruit... I lived up to my end of the bargain."
At this point, Reid said, he couldn't agree to any "face-saving" deal for Republicans. "This isn't a date to the problem," he said. "This is our country."
Meanwhile, as the Republican attempts to dismantle Obamacare go nowhere, some are suggesting that they change their demands to focus on long-term fiscal issues -- and possibly combine discussions over re-opening the government with the upcoming debt limit deadline.
"What we are all wanting to see is a resolution to the long-term fiscal, spending issues," Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said on MSNBC Friday morning. "As we look at the debt ceiling, we do have to look at tax reform, we do have to look at entitlement reform. Maybe we're at the point where maybe we have to roll the CR and debt ceiling discussions together and say let's look at this long-term."
Boehner maintained on Friday that he intends to raise the debt limit, to ensure the nation doesn't default on its loans. However, he added, "I think the American people expect if we're going to raise the amount of money we can borrow we ought to do something about our spending and the lack of economic growth in our country."
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Associated Press Release
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A partial government shutdown is in its third day after a White House meeting among President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders yielded no reports of progress.
After the Wednesday evening session, Republicans were not backing off their insistence that Obama accept some curbs on the health care law he won in 2010. Democrats said they were willing to hold wide-ranging negotiations on the budget but first want the GOP-led House to agree to end the shutdown, as the Democratic-controlled Senate has voted to do.
House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) is giving no indication he will do that. Instead, the House plans to continue voting Thursday on bills aimed at reopening small, popular government programs, including veterans' benefits and pay for members of the National Guard and Reserves.
Associated Press Release
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says House Republicans keep "moving the goal posts" on a budget deal.
The California Democrat said Wednesday that Republican House Speaker John Boehner needs to allow a vote on a Senate passed bill and the government will reopen.
President Barack Obama called congressional leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss the partial government shutdown now in its second day.
House Republicans are demanding changes to Obama's health care law in exchange for reopening the government. Obama has refused. He insists that the House follow the Senate and pass a government funding bill that's free of other demands.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, says House Republicans are too focused on the health care law.
Associated Press Release
By JULIE PACE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A White House official says President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday for a meeting on the government shutdown.
The official says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been invited to the meeting. The official says Obama will urge the House to pass a spending bill to allow the government to reopen.
The government shut down when Congress failed to pass a spending bill ahead of a midnight deadline.
The official insisted on anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the meeting before it was announced.
Associated Press Release
By ANDREW TAYLOR
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions -- from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans' claims -- in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks.
A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation's health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.
National 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 voicemail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown.
The Defense Department said it wasn't clear that service academies would be able to participate in sports, putting Saturday's Army vs. Boston College and Air Force vs. Navy football games on hold, with a decision to be made Thursday.
And the White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama would have to truncate a long-planned trip to Asia, calling off the final two stops in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Even as many government agencies closed their doors, health insurance exchanges that are at the core of Obama's health care law were up and running, taking applications for coverage that would start Jan. 1.
"Shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal," Obama said of his Republican opponents at a Rose Garden event hailing implementation of the law. "The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House; it passed the Senate. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was a central issue in last year's election. It is settled, and it is here to stay. And because of its funding sources, it's not impacted by a government shutdown."
GOP leaders faulted the Senate for killing a House request to open official negotiations on the temporary spending bill. Senate Democrats led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada insist that Republicans give in and pass their simple, straightforward temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution.
"None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, `Come and talk to us,"' House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said as GOP lawmakers designated to negotiate the shutdown legislation met among themselves before cameras and reporters. "At each and every turn, the Senate Democrats refused to even discuss these proposals."
Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the government. The bills covered the national parks, the Veterans Affairs Department and city services in Washington, D.C., such as garbage collection funded with local tax revenues.
The move presented Democrats with politically challenging votes but they rejected the idea, saying it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy. The White House promised a veto.
Since the measures were brought before the House under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, House Democrats scuttled them, despite an impassioned plea by Democratic D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who recalled that in the last shutdown 17 years ago she prevailed on House Speaker Newt Gingrich to win an exemption to keep the D.C. government running.
"I must support this piecemeal approach," Norton said. "What would you do if your local budget was here?"
But other Democrats said Republicans shouldn't be permitted to choose which agencies should open and which remain shut.
"This piecemeal approach will only prolong a shutdown," Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said.
Republicans said there could be more votes Wednesday, perhaps to allow the National Institutes of Health to continue pediatric cancer research. The NIH's famed hospital of last resort wasn't admitting new patients because of the shutdown. Dr. Francis Collins, agency director, estimated that each week the shutdown lasts would force the facility to turn away about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who want to enroll in studies of experimental treatments. Patients already at the hospital are permitted to stay.
Republicans also said the House may vote anew on the three measures that failed Tuesday, this time under normal rules requiring a simple majority to pass.
Republicans hoped such votes would create pressure on Democrats to drop their insistence that they won't negotiate on the spending bill or an even more important subsequent measure, required in a couple of weeks or so, to increase the government's borrowing limit.
There were suggestions from leaders in both parties that the shutdown could last for weeks and grow to encompass the measure to increase the debt limit. "This is now all together," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.
"It's untenable not to negotiate," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. "I've always believed it was the debt limit that would be the forcing action."
While GOP leaders seemed determined to press on, some Republicans conceded they might bear the brunt of any public anger over the shutdown -- and seemed resigned to an eventual surrender in their latest bruising struggle with Obama.
Democrats have "all the leverage and we've got none," Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said.
Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia said it was time to pass legislation reopening the government without any health care impediments.
"The shutdown is hurting my district -- including the military and the hardworking men and women who have been furloughed due to the defense sequester," he said.
But that was far from the majority view among House Republicans, where tea party-aligned lawmakers prevailed more than a week ago on a reluctant leadership to link federal funding legislation to the health care law. In fact, some conservatives fretted the GOP had already given in too much.
Associated Press Release
By DAVID ESPO and DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- First slowed, then stalled by political gridlock, the vast machinery of government clanged into partial shutdown mode on Tuesday and President Barack Obama warned the longer it goes "the more families will be hurt."
Republicans said it was his fault, not theirs, and embarked on a strategy -- opposed by Democrats -- of voting on bills to reopen individual agencies or programs.
Ominously, there were suggestions from leaders in both parties that the shutdown, heading for its second day, could last for weeks and grow to encompass a possible default by the Treasury if Congress fails to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The two issues are "now all together," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Speaking at the White House, the president accused Republicans of causing the first partial closure in 17 years as part of a non-stop "ideological crusade" to wipe out his signature health care law.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, gave as good as he got. "The president isn't telling the whole story,' he said in an opinion article posted on the USA Today website. "The fact is that Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks."
Both houses of Congress met in a Capitol closed to regular public tours, part of the impact of a partial shutdown that sent ripples of disruption outward -- from museums and memorials in Washington to Yellowstone and other national parks and to tax auditors and federal offices serving Americans coast to coast.
Officials said roughly 800,000 federal employees would be affected by the shutdown after a half-day on the job Tuesday to fill out time cards, put new messages on their voice mail and similar chores.
Among those workers were some at the National Institute of Health's famed hospital of last resort, where officials said no new patients would be admitted for the duration of the shutdown. Dr. Francis Collins, agency director, estimated that each week the shutdown lasts will force the facility to turn away about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who want to enroll in studies of experimental treatments. Patients already at the hospital are permitted to stay.
Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought swift passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the federal establishment. The bills covered the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Park Service and a portion of the Washington, D.C., government funded with local tax revenue.
Democrats generally opposed all three, saying Republicans shouldn't be permitted to choose which agencies remain open and which stay shut. As a result, all fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage.
The White House also issued veto threats against the bills, drawing a jab from Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner. Obama "can't continue to complain about the impact of the government shutdown on veterans, visitors at National Parks, and D.C. while vetoing bills to help them," he said.
Several House Democrats used the occasion to seek a vote on a standalone spending bill, a measure that Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut said would "end the tea party shutdown." The requests were ruled out of order.
Republican aides said all three bills that were sidetracked could be brought up again on Wednesday under rules requiring a mere majority to pass. They said the House might also vote on a measure to reopen the hospital at the NIH, after several Democrats cited the impact on patients.
Ironically, a major expansion of the health care law -- the very event Republicans had hoped to prevent -- was unaffected as consumers flocked for the first time Tuesday to websites to shop for coverage sold by private companies.
The talk of joining the current fight -- the Republicans are trying to sidetrack the health care law by holding up funding for the fiscal year that began at midnight Monday -- to a dispute involving the national debt limit suggested the shutdown could go on for some time.
The administration says the ceiling must be raised by mid-month, and Republicans have long vowed to seek cuts in spending at the same time, a condition Obama has rejected.
In Washington, some Republicans conceded privately they might bear the brunt of any public anger over the shutdown -- and seemed resigned to an eventual surrender in their latest bruising struggle with Obama.
Democrats have "all the leverage and we've got none," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said sardonically his party was following a "Ted Cruz-lemmings strategy" -- a reference to the senator who is a prime proponent of action against the health care overhaul -- and Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia said it was time to pass legislation reopening the government without any health care impediments. "The shutdown is hurting my district -- including the military and the hard-working men and women who have been furloughed due to the defense sequester," he said.
But that was far from the majority view among House Republicans, where tea party-aligned lawmakers prevailed more than a week ago on a reluctant leadership to link federal funding legislation to "Obamacare." In fact, some conservatives fretted the GOP had already given in too much.
Gone is the Republican demand for a full defunding of the health care law as the price for essential federal funding. Gone, too, are the demands for a one-year delay in the law, a permanent repeal of a medical device tax and a provision making it harder for women to obtain contraceptive coverage.
In place of those items, Republicans now seek a one-year-delay in the requirement for individuals to purchase insurance, and they want a separate provision that would dramatically raise the cost of health care for the president, vice president, members of Congress and thousands of aides.
Boehner has declined to say whether he would permit a vote on a stand-alone spending bill to reopen the government, stripped of health care provisions, though Democrats and Obama continued to call on him to do so. "He's afraid it will pass," said Durbin.
Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, the most prominent advocate of the "Defund Obamacare" movement, said the Senate should follow the House's lead and quickly reopen programs for veterans and the parks. Asked why it was appropriate to do so without demanding changes in the health care law, he offered no answer.
"None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, `Come and talk to us,"' said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as GOP lawmakers called for negotiations with the Senate on a compromise.
It was an offer that Senate Democrats chose to refuse, saying there was nothing to negotiate until Republicans agreed to reopen the federal establishment.
"The government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on on the other side of the Capitol," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In addition to "closed" signs and barricades springing up at the Lincoln Memorial and other tourist attractions, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency were virtually shuttered, and Obama said veterans centers would be shut down.
Government workers classified as essential, such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors, remained on the job.
So, too, members of the military, whose pay was exempted from the shutdown in separate legislation Obama signed late Monday. Employees whose work is financed through fees, including those who issue passports and visas, also continued to work. The self-funded Postal Service remained in operation, and officials said the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time.
Associated Press writers Lauran Neergaard, Alan Fram, Josh Lederman, Nedra Pickler, Seth Borenstein and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.
Associated Press Release
By DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has voted to reject the latest House Republican effort to negotiate on the budget amid the government shutdown.
The party-line vote was 54-46 on Tuesday. The Senate turned aside a House request to name negotiators to a conference to resolve differences.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn't negotiate as long as Republicans were holding up a straightforward spending bill to keep the government operating.
The vote marked the fourth time during this fight that the Democratic-controlled Senate has rejected House Republican efforts. The political stalemate that has triggered the first government shutdown in 17 years.
Associated Press Release
By JOSH LEDERMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For three years, the Obama administration has been preparing for this moment: the launch of new insurance exchanges, intended to expand health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. But this is far from the grand opening that President Barack Obama may have expected.
Instead, the exchanges are starting up just as most of the federal government is shutting down, left unfunded by a Congress that's still bitterly divided about whether to discard Obama's health care law altogether.
There will be just a skeletal staff at the White House on Tuesday when Obama appears in the Oval Office to tout the benefits of his law alongside Americans who plan to purchase insurance through the exchanges. Many of Obama's aides, like hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the country, will be on furlough due to the first partial shutdown in almost two decades.
"Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility," Obama said in a video message the White House released just after midnight Tuesday, as Congress missed its deadline to keep the government running. "It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."
At the heart of the disagreement over a temporary measure to fund the government was whether Obama's health care law should be allowed to go into effect as written. House Republicans, cheered on by tea party-backed Republicans in the Senate, sought to defund or delay parts of the bill, arguing that once Americans started enrolling in the exchanges, the law becomes harder to repeal.
"The notion is, we've got to stop it before people like it too much," Obama said on NPR News. The interview was taped Monday and aired Tuesday.
Obama has insisted he wouldn't sign a bill that gutted the law, his signature legislative achievement. Lacking funding from Congress, the White House budget office told agencies shortly before midnight to start closing their doors.
In a bit of irony not lost on the law's proponents, the main components of "Obamacare" will proceed full speed ahead despite the shutdown that will shutter national parks, veterans' centers and other government operations until Congress finds a way to break the stalemate. That's because funding for the Affordable Care Act, like other "mandatory" functions such as Social Security, air traffic control and national defense, is protected from the whims of Congress.
In addition to the Oval Office appearance, Obama will deploy top deputies to spread the message, the White House said. Vice President Joe Biden will appear on college radio stations. First lady Michelle Obama is publishing an editorial on a women's lifestyle website. And Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, and other officials will be guests on African-American radio shows.
Tuesday's events coincide with the digital ribbon-cutting for the exchanges, which will allow Americans to compare and purchase insurance online. The Obama administration needs millions of Americans -- mostly healthy, younger people -- to enroll to keep costs low for everyone.
Republicans have seized on a list of technical glitches and delays that have emerged as evidence the law isn't ready to work and will never be. But the White House says that's true for any big, new program and won't affect the outcome, since Americans have six months to enroll through the exchanges.
"I would suspect that there will be glitches. This is 50 states, a lot of people signing up for something. And there are going to be problems," Obama said. "But what we're confident about is that people will be able to take a look and find out whether this is something that is going to be good for their families."
In his sole response to the shutdown early Tuesday, Obama directed his comments not at the lawmakers he's been scolding for weeks, but instead to the military. He made no reference to Republicans or Democrats, but his frustration was clear as he contrasted the professionalism and courage of American troops with lawmakers' inability to fulfill what he's described as their constitutional duty.
"You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we're seeing in Congress," Obama said in the video message.
Associated Press Release
By CALVIN WOODWARD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Campers in national parks are to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections will be suspended and panda-cams will go dark at the shuttered National Zoo.
Those are among the immediate effects when parts of the government shut Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.
In this time of argument and political gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that appears to have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll out to keep essential services running and numb the impact for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be felt in day-to-day lives and in the economy as a whole.
A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably won't:
THIS: Washington's paralysis will be felt early on in distant lands as well as in the capital; namely, at national parks. All park services will close. Campers have 48 hours to leave their sites. Many parks, such as Yellowstone, will close to traffic, and some will become completely inaccessible. Smithsonian museums in Washington will close and so will the zoo, where panda cams record every twitch and cuddle of the panda cub born Aug. 23 but are to be turned off in the first day of a shutdown.
The Statue of Liberty in New York, the loop road at Acadia National Park in Maine, Skyline Drive in Virginia, and Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will be off limits. At Grand Canyon National Park, people will be turned back from entrance gates and overlooks will be cordoned off along a state road inside the park that will remain open.
"People who waited a year to get a reservation to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon all of a sudden will find themselves without an opportunity to take that trip," said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service.
BUT NOT THIS: At some parks, where access is not controlled by gates or entrance stations, people can continue to drive, bike and hike. People won't be shooed off the Appalachian Trail, for example, and parks with highways running through them, like the Great Smokies, also are likely to be accessible. Officials won't scour the entire 1.2 million-acre Grand Canyon park looking for people; those already hiking or camping in the backcountry and on rafting trips on the Colorado River will be able to complete their trips. The care and feeding of the National Zoo's animals will all go on as usual.
The shutdown won't affect Ellis Island or the Washington Monument because they are already closed for repairs.
THIS: The Board of Veterans Appeals will stop issuing rulings, meaning decisions about some disability claims by veterans will wait even longer than usual. Interments at national cemeteries will slow. If a shutdown drags on for weeks, disability and pension payments may be interrupted.
BUT NOT THIS: Most Department of Veterans Affairs services will continue; 95 percent of staff are either exempted from a shutdown or have the budget to keep paying them already in place. The department's health programs get their money a year in advance, so veterans can still see their doctor, get prescriptions filled and visit fully operational VA hospitals and outpatient clinics. Claims workers can process benefit payments until late in October, when that money starts to run out.
THIS: New patients won't be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, including 255 trials for cancer patients; care will continue for current patients. Federal medical research will be curtailed and the government's ability to detect and investigate disease outbreaks will be harmed. Grant applications will be accepted but not dealt with.
BUT NOT THIS: The show goes on for President Barack Obama's health care law. Tuesday heralds the debut of health insurance markets across the country, which begin accepting customers for coverage that begins in January. Core elements of the law are an entitlement, like Social Security, so their flow of money does not depend on congressional appropriations. That's why Republicans have been trying explicitly to starve the law of money. An impasse in approving a federal budget has little effect on Obamacare. As for NIH operations, reduced hospital staff at the NIH Clinical Center will care for current patients, and research animals will get their usual care.
THIS: Most routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will be suspended.
BUT NOT THIS: Meat inspection, done by the Agriculture Department, continues. The FDA will still handle high-risk recalls.
THIS: Complaints from airline passengers to the government will fall on deaf ears. The government won't be able to do new car safety testing and ratings or handle automobile recall information. Internal Transportation Department investigations of waste and fraud will be put on ice, and progress will be slowed on replacing the country's radar-based air traffic system with GPS-based navigation. Most accident investigators who respond to air crashes, train collisions, pipeline explosions and other accidents will be furloughed but could be called back if needed.
Kristie Greco, speaking for the Federal Aviation Administration, said nearly 2,500 safety office personnel will be furloughed but may be called back incrementally over the next two weeks. The union representing aviation safety inspectors said it was told by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta that nearly 3,000 inspectors will be off work. Greco did not confirm that.
BUT NOT THIS: Air traffic controllers and many of the technicians who keep air traffic equipment working will remain on the job. Amtrak says it can continue normal operations for a while, relying on ticket revenue, but will suffer without federal subsidies over the longer term. FAA employees who make grants to airports, most Federal Highway Administration workers and federal bus and truck safety inspectors will also stay on the job because they are paid with user fees. Railroad and pipeline safety inspectors will also remain at work.
THIS: About half the Defense Department's civilian employees will be furloughed.
BUT NOT THIS: The 1.4 million active-duty military personnel stay on duty and under a last-minute bill, they should keep getting paychecks on time. Most Homeland Security agents and border officers, as well as other law enforcement agents and officers, keep working.
THIS: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. It provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.
BUT NOT THIS: School lunches and breakfasts will continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will still be distributed.
THIS: A shutdown that lasts two weeks or more would probably start to slow an already sluggish economy, analysts say. Closures of national parks would hurt hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. And federal workers who lost pay would spend less, thereby curbing economic growth. A three-week shutdown would slow the economy's annual growth rate in the October-December quarter by up to 0.9 of a percentage point, Goldman Sachs has estimated. If so, that could mean a growth rate of 1.6 percent, compared with the 2.5 percent that many economists now forecast.
BUT NOT THIS: Little impact on the economy if the shutdown only lasts a few days.
THIS: Economic data will be interrupted as the Bureau of Labor Statistics ceases almost all operations. This will leave the stock market without some of the benchmark economic indicators that drive the market up or down. The key September jobs report, due Friday, could still be released on time if the White House authorizes that, but that's not been determined. Statistical gathering also is being interrupted at the Commerce Department and Census Bureau. This means the government won't come out on time with its monthly report on construction spending Tuesday or a factory orders report Thursday.
BUT NOT THIS: The weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits is still expected Thursday. The Treasury Department's daily report on government finances will be released normally and government debt auctions are to proceed as scheduled. And at Commerce, these functions continue, among others: weather and climate observation, fisheries law enforcement and patent and trademark application processing.
THIS: Some passport services located in federal buildings might be disrupted -- only if those buildings are forced to close because of a disruption in building support services.
BUT NOT THIS: Except in those instances, passport and visas will be handled as usual, both at home and abroad. These activities of the Bureau of Consular Affairs are fully supported by user fees instead of appropriated money, so are not affected. As well, the government will keep handling green card applications.
THIS: The Federal Housing Administration, which insures about 15 percent of new loans for home purchases, will approve fewer loans for its client base -- borrowers with low to moderate income -- because of reduced staff. Only 67 of 349 employees will keep working. The agency will focus on single-family homes during a shutdown, setting aside loan applications for multi-family dwellings. The Housing and Urban Development Department won't make additional payments to the nation's 3,300 public housing authorities, but the agency estimates that most of them have enough money to keep giving people rental assistance until the end of October.
BUT NOT THIS: It will be business as usual for borrowers seeking loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee nearly half of all U.S. mortgages and 90 percent of new ones.
THIS: Possible delays in processing new disability applications.
BUT NOT THIS: Social Security and Medicare benefits still keep coming.
Associated Press writers Sam Hananel, Matthew Daly, Joan Lowy, Kevin Freking, Hope Yen, Lauran Neergaard, Andrew Miga, Deb Riechmann, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Lolita C. Baldor, Jesse Holland, Mary Clare Jalonick and Alicia Caldwell in Washington; and Felicia Fonseca at Grand Canyon National Park, contributed to this report.
Associated Press Release
By SAM HANANEL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government shutdown would have far-reaching consequences for some, but minimal impact on others.
Mail would be delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue to flow.
But vacationers would be turned away from national parks and Smithsonian museums. Low-to-moderate income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays.
A look at how services would or would not be affected if Congress fails to reach an agreement averting a government shutdown at midnight Monday.
Federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and airport screeners would keep funneling passengers through security checkpoints. Federal inspectors would continue enforcing safety rules.
The State Department would continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas would continue to provide services to American citizens.
Social Security and Medicare benefits would keep coming, but there could be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment benefits would still go out.
Federal courts would continue operating normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown, roughly until the middle of October. If the shutdown continues, the judiciary would have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. But cases would continue to be heard.
Deliveries would continue as usual because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo in Washington. Visitors using overnight campgrounds or other park facilities would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park. Among the visitor centers that would be closed: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Alcatraz Island near San Francisco.
New patients would not be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, but current patients would continue to receive care. Medical research at the NIH would be disrupted and some studies would be delayed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls, but would suspend most routine safety inspections. Federal meat inspections would be expected to proceed as usual.
A small number of Head Start programs, about 20 out of 1,600 nationally, would feel the impact right away. The federal Administration for Children and Families says grants expiring about Oct. 1 would not be renewed. Over time, more programs would be affected. Several of the Head Start programs that would immediately feel the pinch are in Florida. It's unclear if they would continue serving children.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. The program provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.
School lunches and breakfasts would continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
Americans would still have to pay their taxes and file federal tax returns, but the Internal Revenue Service says it would suspend all audits. Got questions? Sorry, the IRS says taxpayer services, including toll-free help lines, would be shut as well.
Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-insured mortgages could face delays. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, would still approve single-family loans, but with delays. Multi-family mortgage approvals would be suspended. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.
NASA will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space station, where two Americans and four others are deployed. The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center would continue to track storms. The scientific work of the U.S. Geological Survey would be halted.
The majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees would continue to process green card applications.
The military's 1.4 million active duty personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees would be furloughed.
All 116 federal prisons would remain open, and criminal litigation would proceed.
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA's health programs. Veterans would still be able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, get mental health counseling at vet centers or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators would still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers would still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits. But those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board would not issue any decisions during a shutdown.
Federal occupational safety and health inspectors would stop workplace inspections except in cases of imminent danger.
Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Frederic J. Frommer, Kevin Freking, Andrew Miga, Deb Riechmann, Lauran Neergaard, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Mark Sherman, Stephen Ohlemacher, Lolita Baldor, Jesse Holland, Seth Borenstein, Mary Clare Jalonick and Alicia Caldwell contributed to this report.