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By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2011 – Today is the deadline for Congress to approve a budget, or have the government shut down. But leaders in both major political parties say they are at an impasse. According to today’s Washington Post, “They can’t even agree on what they are disagreeing over.”


What are the issues, and how might you be impacted? 


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans are trying to force funding cuts for Planned Parenthood. “Republicans are asking me to sacrifice my wife’s health, my daughter’s health and my nine granddaughters’ health,” he said, noting that the funds at stake include screenings for breast and cervical cancer, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, not just reproductive health services.

But Republican House Speaker John Boehmer claims the deadlock is about saving taxpayers money, not policy disputes. “ I think the American people deserve to know when will the White House, and when will Senate Democrats, get serious about cutting spending?” he said. Republicans have sought deeper spending cuts than those in the President’s proposal to stem the massive federal deficit.

President Barack Obama has called on both sides to continue talks and adds, ”My hope is, is that I’ll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted, that a deal has been completed that has very meaningful cuts in a wide variety of categories, that helps us move in the direction of living within our means, but preserves our investments in things like education and innovation, research, that are going to be important for our long-term competitiveness. “

Some 800,000 federal employees, including members of the military, would not receive their paychecks if a shut-down occurs (though payments would be made once the government restarts). Boehmer today announced that if a shut-down occurs, he will return his pay.

How might you be impacted if a government shut-down occurs? According to CNN:

• The IRS will stop processing tax returns and refunds.
• The Small Business Administration will stop processing loans for businesses.
• National parks will be closed.
• Grand juries may be dismissed, though federal trials in progress will likely continue.
• Processing of Medicaid disability applications could be delayed.
• Visas, other than for emergency travel, will not be processed.
• Employees who answer questions about Social Security and Medicaid will not be on duty.
• Over half of all Health and Services employees will be furloughed.

Some vital services will continue, such as air traffic controllers, Homeland Security, and weather forecasting.


CNN has compiled a list of what will be closed if a shut-down occurs, and how it might impact the public. View the full list here:

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