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Senate Rejects ObamaCare Delay, Bill to Avert Shutdown Returns to House
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Monday to reject a Republican-backed bid to delay ObamaCare as part of a crucial government spending package, sending the bill back to the House with just hours left on the clock until the government begins to shut down, Fox News is reporting.
The Senate voted 54-46, along party lines, to kill two House amendments that would have delayed the health care law and repeal its unpopular medical device tax.
House leaders will now have to decide whether to make a counter-offer or accept the Senate bill. Without a resolution, the government is expected to start shutting down after midnight.
Shutdown Showdown Intensifies Over Obamacare Delay; How It Would Affect You
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is teetering on the brink of a partial shutdown and congressional Republicans are vowing to keep using an otherwise routine federal funding bill to try to attack the president's health care law.
Congress was closed for the day Sunday after a post-midnight vote in the GOP-run House to delay by a year key parts of the new health care law and repeal a tax on medical devices, in exchange for avoiding a shutdown.
The Senate is set to convene Monday afternoon, just hours before the shutdown deadline. Majority Leader Harry Reid has already promised that Democrats would kill the House's latest volley.
Since the last government shutdown 17 years ago, temporary funding bills known as continuing resolutions have been noncontroversial, with neither party willing to chance a shutdown to achieve legislative goals it couldn't otherwise win. But with health insurance exchanges set to open on Tuesday, tea-party Republicans are willing to take the risk in their drive to kill the health care law.
A government shutdown would have far-reaching consequences for some, but minimal impact on others, the Associated Press is reporting.
Mail would be delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue to flow. But vacationers would be turned away from national parks and Smithsonian museums. Low-to-moderate income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays.
A look at how services would or would not be affected if Congress fails to reach an agreement averting a government shutdown at midnight Monday.
AIR TRAVELFederal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and airport screeners would keep funneling passengers through security checkpoints. Federal inspectors would continue enforcing safety rules.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVELThe State Department would continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas would continue to provide services to American citizens.
BENEFIT PAYMENTSSocial Security and Medicare benefits would keep coming, but there could be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment benefits would still go out.
FEDERAL COURTSFederal courts would continue operating normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown, roughly until the middle of October. If the shutdown continues, the judiciary would have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. But cases would continue to be heard.
MAILDeliveries would continue as usual because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.
RECREATIONAll national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo in Washington. Visitors using overnight campgrounds or other park facilities would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park. Among the visitor centers that would be closed: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Alcatraz Island near San Francisco and the Washington Monument.
HEALTHNew patients would not be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, but current patients would continue to receive care. Medical research at the NIH would be disrupted and some studies would be delayed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks, from flu to that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.
FOOD SAFETYThe Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls suspend most routine safety inspections. Federal meat inspections would be expected to proceed as usual.
HEAD STARTA small number of Head Start programs, about 20 out of 1,600 nationally, would feel the impact right away. The federal Administration for Children and Families says grants expiring about Oct. 1 would not be renewed. Over time more programs would be affected. Several of the Head Start programs that would immediately feel the pinch are in Florida. It's unclear if they would continue serving children.
FOOD ASSISTANCEThe Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. The program provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.
School lunches and breakfasts would continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
TAXESAmericans would still have to pay their taxes and file federal tax returns, but the Internal Revenue Service says it would suspend all audits. Got questions? Sorry, the IRS says taxpayer services, including toll-free help lines, would be shut as well.
LOANSMany low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays during the shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, wouldn't underwrite or approve any new loans during the shutdown. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.
SCIENCENASA will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space station, where two Americans and four others are deployed. The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center would continue to track storms. The scientific work of the U.S. Geological Survey would be halted.
HOMELAND SECURITYThe majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees would continue to process green card applications.
MILITARYThe military's 1.4 million active duty personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees would be furloughed.
PRISONSAll 116 federal prisons would remain open, and criminal litigation would proceed.
VETERANS SERVICESMost services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA's health programs. Veterans would still be able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, get mental health counseling at vet centers or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators would still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers would still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits. But those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board would not issue any decisions during a shutdown.
WORK SAFETYFederal occupational safety and health inspectors would stop workplace inspections except in cases of imminent danger.To contact your Congressman about this issue, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or 877-762-8762.
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US unemployment falls to 7 pct. on 203K jobs added
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7 percent in November, an encouraging sign for the economy.
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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest since early 2012. ...
KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the first 35 years of the Kennedy Center Honors, only two Latinos got medals.
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