77,000 Georgians to go without pay amid partial shutdown

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ATLANTA, Ga. - Lawmakers in Washington missed a midnight deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Shortly before midnight the White House budget office directed federal agencies to shut down.

With a threatened government shutdown imminent, House Republicans scaled back their demands to delay the nation's health care law Monday night as the price for essential federal funding, but President Barack Obama and Democrats rejected the proposals as quickly as they were made.

On a long day and night in the Capitol, the Senate torpedoed one GOP attempt to tie government financing to changes in "Obamacare." House Republicans countered with a second despite unmistakable signs their unity was fraying — and Senate Democrats promptly rejected it, as well.

That left the next move up to Speaker John Boehner and his House Republican rank and file, with just two hours remaining before the shutdown deadline of midnight EDT.

The stock market dropped on fears that political gridlock between the White House and a tea party-heavy Republican Party would prevail, though analysts suggested significant damage to the national economy was unlikely unless a shutdown lasted more than a few days.


SPECIAL SECTION: Shutdown effective. What's next?


Still, a shutdown will send hundreds of thousands of workers home and inconvenience millions of people who rely on federal services or are drawn to the nation's parks and other attractions. Some critical parts of the government — from the military to air traffic controllers — will remain open.

Metro Atlanta's nat'l parks to lose $280K per day in shut down

The government shut down will cost the metro Atlanta economy $280,000 a day -- just from revenue generated by national parks.

That is according to the chief of visitor services at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Rudy Evenson.

Visitors at Cochran Shoals Park were leery leading up to the shutdown.

"Right now this really brings it home," said Denise Aldridge.

She said she cycled twice as long Monday because she didn't know when she would be able to enter the park again.

Aldridge said she wasn't happy with even the possibility of the first government shutdown since 1995 and 1996.

"They do have the ability to shut it down, but my question is, ‘Why?’" said Aldridge.

Evenson said the National Park Service employs 40 people. He said 32 of them would be furloughed Tuesday and eight essential personnel including law enforcement would stay on the job.

Bindia Mathew, who was finishing up a jog, said she doesn't agree with the measures being taken by House Republicans to derail the Affordable Care Act.

"I think the whole reason it's going to be shut down is because they're trying to stop Obamacare, but Obamacare is going to go live (Tuesday) no matter what," said Mathew. "So, why do parks have to close? So, why do all the other services have to shut down?"

Terrill Wicks said she understood both sides of the political struggle.

"I think that I see the benefit from both sides and understand, but hopefully they'll make a decision because they're affecting a lot of people's lives," she said.

Federal workers in Atlanta to be furloughed

The government shutdown could impact as many as 2,000 members of the Georgia National Guard. Most of the 15,000 members are part time and have other jobs, but there are around 1,500 full-time Georgia National Guard employees.

Although the federal government pays the salaries of those full-time employees, they are considered civilian employees, and would not be covered by the law Obama signed late Monday night guaranteeing a paycheck for all active-duty members of the military.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant went to the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in DeKalb County to see the  impact the shutdown could have there.

He was told thousands of workers at the CDC would be furloughed at midnight, if the shutdown were to take effect. They'd join thousands of federal employees statewide, but Diamant found the impact on metro Atlanta's economy would go far beyond that.

"I was supposed to put another pretty large amount of money into the stock market on a schedule. I was supposed to do it today and I'm like, 'No way, not doing it," said investor Marjorie Rieder.

Independent investors like Rieder are not sure how markets will react should a shutdown force the feds to lay off 800,000 workers.

"It could settle tonight at midnight and it could go up 200 points tomorrow, but I'm not willing to take that chance," said Rieder.

Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan warns local businesses may react the same way.

"Then it becomes a self-fulfilling problem, because if consumers hold back and businesses see it and they hold back then the consumers have less of a paycheck and then they hold back, it just becomes a problem," he said.

But in the short-term, tens of thousands of "non-essential" federal employees are facing furloughs, with no guarantee of getting back pay once Congress cuts a deal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say of its 13,000 workers worldwide, only 4,000 would escape the furloughs.

"It will be an impact, but we can probably absorb it, because there are so many other things happening. The trouble becomes if it last longer," Dhawan said.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News for continuing coverage of the partial government shutdown.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.