The potential for a federal government shut down has businesses feeling concerned and unprepared.
Dozens of business owners in the hospitality, tourism and contracting fields crowded into a ballroom at the Capitol Hilton Tuesday to find out what they can do to soften the blow on the bottom line if the federal government shuts down later this month.
While the timing for a shutdown is never good, says Greater Washington Board of Trade CEO Jim Dinegar. But he says now is particularly bad.
"Right now is the worst possible time because the economic recovery is so fragile, the tourism season is starting up, and because frankly there is a lot of good business opportunities out there that we want to encourage and not just sort of put on hold," he says.
Dinegar says while many businesses cannot control what lawmakers on Capitol Hill do or don't do, they can prepare for shutdown: Employees can be allocated to different stores; the drop in business can be an opportune time to train workers; and businesses can be ready when the government does return.
UPDATE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:
WASHINGTON (AP) The Senate on Wednesday sent President Barack Obama a Republican-drafted bill to trim $4 billion from the budget, completing hastily processed legislation aimed at keeping partisan budget divisions from causing a government shutdown.
Moments later, Obama called on congressional leader to meet with top administration figures including Vice President Joe Biden to discuss a longer-term measure to fund the government through Sept. 30.
"We can find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means," Obama said. "This agreement should be bipartisan, it should be free of any party's social or political agenda, and it should be reached without delay."
The Senate cleared the temporary measure by an overwhelming 91-9 vote that gives the GOP an early but modest victory in its drive to rein in government. Obama has until Friday to sign the measure and keep federal offices open and operations intact. The House passed the legislation on Tuesday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)