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Officials: Chicago Area Won't Feel Short-Term Shutdown

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The government shutdown officially began Tuesday morning as Congress missed the 12:01 a.m. deadline to pass a government spending bill. NBC 5's Emily Florez explains how this impacts the Chicago area.

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The Chicago area may not feel the effects of a short-term federal government shutdown, but if the bitter battle lasts a few weeks, many will be forced to take notice, officials said.

Most agencies said they can survive off of reserve funds for a few days, but if the stalemate lasts for several days or weeks, tapping into those reserves won’t save them.

The government shutdown officially began Tuesday morning as Congress missed the 12:01 a.m. deadline to pass a government spending bill. This is the first shutdown in 17 years.

"This is a sad day for America," said Democratic Senate Majority Harry Reid on the Senate floor.

The House formally requested a conference with the Senate after a final vote shortly after 1 a.m. approving its already-rejected budget plan of delaying the Affordable Care Act for a year to fund the government until Dec. 15.

The Senate will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will table the conference proposal. The House will reconvene at 10 a.m. About a half hour before the shutdown, federal government officials told agencies to begin executing plans for a partial government shutdown as Congress failed to reach an agreement.

“If we are to overcome this impasse, both sides must be willing to compromise,” Sen. Mark Kirk tweeted Tuesday.

The shutdown is expected to place thousands of federal workers on furlough, close national parks and monuments and disrupt services such as food assistance and IRS audits.

Thousands of Chicago area workers face furloughs as the shutdown takes effect, officials said.

The Naval Station Great Lakes said at least 2,500 civil service employees will be furloughed in the shutdown, according to Capt. Dustin Cammack.

Federal Union Rep. John O'Grady said employees began showing up to Metcald building Tuesday morning prepared to turn on their computers and work until they got official word of their furlough notices.

The Environmental Protection Agency said nearly 1,000 Chicago workers and 94 percent of their employees nationwide will be furloughed.

Approximately one million Federal employees and their families nationwide will be spending less due to the budget impasse in Congress. This will impact local economies since they will have little to no discretionary money to spend, O'Grady said.

Approximately 35,000 plus Federal employees and their families in the Chicago area will be spending less due to the budget impasse in Congress, O'Grady said.

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will also be forced to furlough around 75 employees as they head into one of their busiest months, officials said.

“Americans all across the country will feel the effects,” Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said in a statement. “Republicans should stop holding the American economy hostage and start governing responsibly. They should stop their fruitless and mean-spirited crusade to snatch much needed health care from millions of Americans. Their willingness to shut-down the government to get their way is the height of irresponsibility.”

Other Illinois officials expressed concerns about the shutdown.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly issued the following statement Tuesday in response to the shutdown:

“Today, due to the irresponsible tactics of House Republicans, the federal government has shut down for the first time in 17 years. Let’s be clear: This shutdown is not about the Affordable Care Act. It’s about a faction of the Republican Party putting their extremist ideology ahead of the best interests of the American people,” Rep. Kelly said.

“I don’t want to shut the government down," said Congressman Peter Roskam. "This is a process that President Obama set in motion earlier in the summer when he delayed the mandate on big business. What we’re saying is…if you’re going to delay [the mandate] for big business, you ought to delay it for individuals as well.”
 

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