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Impact of Government Shutdown Felt Across U.S.

posted on October 4, 2013

The House is expected to vote on a bill over the weekend authorizing back pay for furloughed workers. Some top Democrats support the idea, but so far, Democrats have refused to negotiate on separate bills keeping certain, politically sensitive parts of the government open.

Democrats stepped up the rhetoric Friday, calling on House leaders to rein in Tea Party members and reopen the government with no strings attached.

House Speaker John Boehner, reacted angrily to a Wall Street Journal story alleging Republicans don’t care how long the shutdown lasts because they think they’re winning, telling reporters quote, "this isn't some damn game."

And Washington went from shutdown to lockdown Thursday after a woman led police on a chase that ended at the Capitol, where she was shot and killed.

The woman, who had a small child with her in the vehicle, is believed to have been suffering from depression, and it is unclear what role the government shutdown played – if any – in the incident.

But one thing IS certain: the shutdown is having some very real consequences for millions of Americans.

Impact of Government Shutdown Felt Across U.S.

Just as flu season gets underway, officials at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim their efforts to prevent disease outbreaks are severely limited due to the shutdown. The Food and Drug Administration has suspended most routine safety inspections, but USDA meat inspectors have been spared.

The Federal Housing Authority is unable to process any new home loans, and nearly 9 million impoverished Americans face dire consequences as funding for the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC, has come to a halt. 

The U.S. postal service will continue deliveries, though postal officials warn that no more than five days’ worth of cash will be available by mid-October. Medicare and Social Security payments will continue, though new disability applications are unable to be processed.

 Visitors to America’s National Parks, Monuments and Memorials were among the first taxpayers to feel the impact of the shutdown.  All 401 National Park Service sites were closed early Tuesday morning, turning away an estimated 715,000 guests per day.  

National Park Ranger: “At this point we don’t know how long this is going to go on for.”

 In Yellowstone and Yosemite, where visitors often plan their stays months -- and even years -- in advance, campers were given 48 hours to vacate the premises.

Tourist: “Two weeks down the drain… Going to Utah, Colorado National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Yosemite National Park, Redwoods National Park, Crater Lake National Park…all shut down.”

 The Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries and the national Zoo were shuttered.  Visitors to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty also were turned away.

Woman: “Thank you for your service, sir.”

 Veteran: “Thank you.”

 But it’s doubtful any image of the shutdown is a more poignant metaphor than that of aging military veterans being denied access to memorials erected in their honor in Washington.  

 More than 125 World War II and Korean War vets from Mississippi and Iowa were initially prohibited from entering their memorial Tuesday, but the “Greatest Generation” was not to be denied.  And some of the same soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy entered the hallowed shrine despite its closure.

George W. Atkinson/Veteran: “I think it’s wonderful.  I’ve never been here before.  Certainly glad that I made the trip.”

 Woman: “Even with the government closing?”

 George W. Atkinson/Veteran: “That’s a disappointment.”

 A few members of Congress, including House Republicans -- who polls suggest most American’s blame for the shutdown -- -- helped push aside barriers and escorted veterans into the memorial.

The National Park Service has received proposals from states, municipalities and businesses to provide support to reopen parks, but so far, the agency declined all such offers.

Tags: centers for disease control and prevention congressman steve king Federal Housing Authority Food and Drug Administration government shutdown home loans korean war veterans Medicare national monuments national parks poverty Smithsonian Institution Social Security U.S. Postal Service USD meat inspectors Washington D.C. wicked World War II memorial World War II veterans Yellowstone