The Government Shutdown: What It Looks Like
The National Zoo: It’s closed. The Environmental Protection Agency: ready to furlough more than 90 percent of its staff. Ditto for agencies as diverse as NASA, the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service. (Yes — if past history holds true, the estimated 800,000 employees furloughed because of the budget shutdown will be paid. Probably. Eventually.)
Meantime, Congress is meeting this morning. All 535 members of the House and Senate will be paid as they continue to talk about the crisis — the refusal of most Republicans to renew government funding without an agreement from Democrats and President Obama to delay implementation of the new national health-care law — and how to get past it. The Daily Beast among others has reported on the lack of appetite among many in Congress to suspend their own pay in the event they failed to pass a spending bill to keep the government open. One notable exception: California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who sponsored a bill to stop members of Congress from getting paid if the government shut down:
A similar bill passed the Senate unanimously in 2011, but the House never voted on it. This year, as the likelihood of a shutdown looks more certain than ever, Boxer’s bill has one co-sponsor, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).
“How is that Republicans who are urging a shutdown of the government are not co-sponsors of my bill?” Boxer said Friday. “They want to protect their own pay, they want to protect themselves and their families, but they don’t seem to care about the single mom who works as a custodian in one of our government buildings who is struggling to get by … These Republicans are willing to put the livelihoods of millions of American workers at risk — but not their own.”
Many government websites — see NASA.gov, for instance — feature stark notices that they’re not available due to the lapse in government funding. Among the sites open for business today, though: HealthCare.gov, essentially the national home page for the new federal Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Here’s our Storify summary of breaking government shutdown news from Washington, the Bay Area, and elsewhere: