Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 4:59 pm
There's nothing like a government shutdown to make people angry about government, or at least the politicians who are running things.
"The people we have in the Senate and the House of Representatives, I don't know who they're working for, but they're not working for us," says Larry Abernathy, an insurance broker in St. Louis. "I think both parties are useless."
It's a widely shared belief. People in this Midwestern city may be far removed from the back and forth of the budget debate that has paralyzed Washington, but the partial shutdown is very much on their minds.
If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.
The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.
Scott Lee can look down the limestone cliffs and see the Colorado River cutting through the Grand Canyon. But what's maddening is he can't get on the river. Today, Lee was planning to get in a raft and launch a 20-day trip down the Colorado. But his group of 16, including his 13-year-old son, whom he pulled out of school in New Hampshire for this trip of a lifetime, can't get started.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish with no end in sight. President Obama is gathering the four top Congressional leaders to the White House this evening, but it's really just one person he'll need to persuade, House Speaker John Boehner.
President Obama has been railing against Republicans in Congress nearly every day this week.
"One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government," he said in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. "All because they didn't like one law."
He's expected to take that message on the road on Thursday, visiting a construction company in Maryland to talk about the impact of the shutdown on the economy.
And that finger-pointing at Republicans is sure to be part of his speech again.
And finally to the national parks. In total, 401 park service sites have been closed due to the government shutdown, ranging from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Civil War battlefields and the Statue of Liberty. And the many memorials along the National Mall here in Washington are barricaded: Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II.
The director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis, told me even sites like those that may not seem to require park service supervision do.
A Senate hearing today focused on the shutdown's impact on national security. Intelligence leaders told lawmakers they could not guarantee the safety of the country because most civilian intelligence workers are furloughed. NPR's Larry Abramson has that story.
They've been sequestered, furloughed and told to work without pay. Meanwhile, they still have mortgages, bills and kids in college. How is the shutdown affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers?