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Obama: Gov't Shutdown Would Be Felt Immediately

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With the threat of a federal government shutdown looming, President Barack Obama says it would have a real economic impact right away including the shutdown of national landmarks like the Statue of Liberty.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, the president called the situation the height of irresponsibility.

"A shutdown will have a very real economic effect on real people, right away. Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly. This one would, too. It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time where those gears have gained some traction," Obama said.


The president says House Republicans are to blame for the shutdown, which is set to begin at midnight.

"The idea of putting the American people's hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility, and it doesn't have to happen. Let me repeat this. It does not have to happen. All of this is preventable if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done, and that's the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process, the same way other Congresses have for more than 200 years," Obama said.

The Senate earlier today rejected the latest funding bill aimed at preventing the shutdown.

The measure passed the House Republican majority yesterday, but contained language that would have delayed the Affordable Care Act for a year and eliminate a tax on medical devices that helps pay for the law.

Much of the new health care law is set to take effect Tuesday, including the opening of insurance exchanges in New York.

If the government shuts down Tuesday, about 800,000 federal workers would be forced off the job without pay, starting with the military.

Nearly a million and a half active duty personnel would have their paychecks delayed, including those serving overseas.

Close to 400,000 civilian contractors would be furloughed immediately.

Veterans Affairs services would stay open.

Air traffic controllers would remain on the job.

The TSA and the Department of Homeland Security would remain open.

The State Department would continue to process visa and passport applications, and immigration services would continue to handle green card applications.

Federal courts would continue normal operations for 10 days. After that, they would start to furlough non-essential staff.

The Justice Department would keep prosecuting criminal cases.

Social Security and Medicare checks would still go out as would unemployment checks.

Food stamps and school breakfast and lunch would be unaffected.

The Food and Drug Administration would suspend routine safety inspections, except for the highest-risk cases.

The Centers for Disease Control would have to drastically scale back their ability to investigate outbreaks, including the flu virus.

All national parks would close, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The U.S. Postal Service would continue day to day mail delivery.

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