Feds close Statue of Liberty, order employee furloughs in response to shutdown

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Washington lawmakers and officials rolled out plans Saturday to address the government shutdown, including the immediate closure of the Statue of Liberty, as the impact of the federal government technically running out of money is already being felt across the country.

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke acknowledged that sections of some national parks will be closed this weekend. And public tours of the U.S. Capitol building have been temporarily cancelled.

“Great to meet visitors at the WWII memorial today,” Zinke said in a tweet that included a picture of him with visitors at the memorial on the National Mall. “Not all parks are fully open but we are working hard to make as many areas as accessible to the public as possible.’

However, the biggest impact will be felt Monday if Congress fails this weekend to agree on a spending deal.

The U.S. military will remain fully operational and carry out its “fundamental responsibility” to the United States and its people, Defense Secretary retired Gen. James Mattis said in a department-wide memo Friday night, as the shutdown appeared imminent. However, service members won’t get paid until Congress approves the funding.

“We will continue to execute daily operations around the world — ships and submarines will remain at sea, our aircraft will continue to fly and our warfighters will continue to pursue terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” Mattis wrote in the email obtained by Fox News.

“You have my personal commitment that the department’s leadership will do our best to mitigate any financial burdens to you and your family. … Stay alert.”

USAA is reportedly try to help if military members don’t get paid during the shutdown by offering interest-free payroll loans to eligible members.

House and Senate members will be paid during a government shutdown, as provided under the Constitution, but some staffers would be furloughed. In total, almost half the 2 million civilian federal workers will be barred from doing their jobs if the shutdown extends into Monday.

President Trump canceled weekend plans to go to his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Florida, to attend a high-dollar fundraiser Saturday night to commemorate his first year in office.

Congressional lawmakers met Saturday in Washington for rare House and Senate sessions to try to agree on a stop-gap spending bill and reopen the government. But as of early afternoon, no bipartisan talks had taken place, and a compromise did not appear on the near horizon.

The shutdown began overnight after the Senate failed to reach a spending deal, stalled in part over Democrats’ calls to include protections for illegal immigrants brought into the United States as children.  

However, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Republicans and Democrats share the blame.

“Political gamesmanship, an unwillingness to compromise, and a lack of resolve on both sides have led us to this point,” he said Saturday.

The other federal agencies and services impacted by the shutdown include:

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

A shutdown plan posted on the Treasury Department’s website shows that nearly 44 percent of the IRS’ 80,565 employees will be exempt from being furloughed, which would mean nearly 45,500 others agency employees will be sent home — at the start of the tax filing season and amid sweeping changes made by the new GOP tax law.

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