Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 1:07 pm
Pat Barnes of Hanover, Md. waits for her train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Barnes is a federal employee and was sent home early in response to the shutdown.
Veterans who came to Washington Tuesday to see the World War II memorial on the National Mall were able to complete their visit, although the memorial — like other federal museums and memorials — was officially closed to the public.
Credit Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images
Day 1 of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition, was business as usual, at least when it came to each side trying to win the message war and keep the pressure on the political opposition in the hope of getting them to blink first.
President Obama had a White House Rose Garden event to mark what also was the first day individuals were able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. With real people who would benefit from the law arrayed behind him in a photo op, he used the moment to blast Republicans.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:20 pm
Congressional staffers, as well as some in the executive branch, could end up getting hit with a large pay cut if a plan to cut a subsidy related to the Affordable Care Act moves forward.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The big fight among members of Congress over the Affordable Care Act could spell big pay cuts — as much as $12,000 — for their employees.
How is this possible? Congressional staffers are most likely wondering the same thing.
Look back to the drafting of the act four years ago. At the time, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley argued that if the health insurance exchanges were good enough for ordinary Americans, they should be good enough for members of Congress and their staff members. Democrats went along with his argument, and it was included in the law.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:51 pm
To lighten the mood, organizers provided Ping-Pong paddles decorated with head-shots of party leaders in Congress.
Credit Christina Cauterucci / NPR
As more than 800,000 government employees were sent home this morning, the staff at Washington, D.C.'s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue opened "Shutdown Central," a gathering space for furloughed locals to work and play.
This week's government shutdown could be just a warmup for an even bigger budget battle in a couple of weeks.
Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won't be able to keep paying its bills.
"It'd be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is," Obama said Tuesday. "It would be an economic shutdown."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDEREDfrom NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The federal government has been at least partially shut down for 20 hours now. There are barricades in front of national monuments and hundreds of thousands of employees are facing furlough and uncertainty about when or if they will be paid. And on Capitol Hill, there seems to be no clear end to the shutdown. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith joins us now from the Capitol.
Among the things House Republicans are asking for in the ongoing spending battle is an elimination of health benefits for members of Congress and their staff. As the law now stands, congressional staff are required to buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and the federal government will help pay for their plans.
House Republicans say that kind of assistance amounts to a special subsidy. But as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, taking away the health benefit would amount to a large pay cut.
Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.