America will feel the pinch if Congress fails to avoid shutdown - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

America will feel the pinch if Congress fails to avoid shutdown

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

If the battle in Washington over Obamacare and the budget is not resolved by next Wednesday morning, parts of the federal government could shut down.

Checks for Social Security and government pensions, for example, would still be delivered. Members of the military and law enforcement agents would remain at their posts. Still, some Americans would be hurt, especially if the deadlock dragged on for more than a few days.

Capitol Hill Democrats paint the darkest picture of what would happen next Wednesday, if there's no agreement to authorize continued federal spending. 

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin told FOX 32 News, "Across the government, it literally will be hundreds of thousands of people not going to work; phone calls unanswered, important functions of government that are not served. It just doesn't speak well of us as a nation. This is an invented political crisis."

The real crisis, say some Republicans, is what would happen if the President's Affordable Care Act takes effect as scheduled next Wednesday. They're trying to strip it of any funding for at least one year

Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, GOP leader in the Senate, declared: "Obamacare is just as bad as many of us said it would be, and is turning out to be a lot worse."

A Democratic briefing paper circulating on Capitol Hill said services in jeopardy would include Head Start pre-school for nearly 1 million children; loans and other help for 1,000 small businesses a week; and financial market regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and, especially here in Chicago, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Tourism might be pinched as those seeking travel visas and new passports could not get them. New retirees would find their applications for Social Security and Medicaid delayed.

One economist estimated that even a so-called government shutdown could shrink America's Gross Domestic Product by two-tenths of 1% each week.

Indiana's centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelley said many of his constituents were fed up with the fighting: "Most average Americans are not liberal left. They're not conservative right. We're in the middle. We're tired of being smashed around like ping-pong balls in a partisan game of politics."

Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said the President was working to avoid a shutdown: "He is and has always been serious about trying to find common ground.

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