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Lawmakers Work To Avoid Shutdown As Federal Workers Brace Themselves

Lawmakers have until next week to avert a government shutdown.
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Lawmakers have until next week to avert a government shutdown.

Senators in the region helped inch the federal government a little closer to being funded by Monday's deadline. But a cloud still hangs over federal workers facing down the prospect of a shutdown.

Both sides of this contentious debate argue that they want to avoid a government shutdown, but you wouldn't know it from the tactics being employed. A small group of Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who held the floor all day, night and into the morning, argue their party needs to use this battle to defund "Obamacare."

If they hold out and delay the vote as long as possible, it will leave their House counterparts little time to act, so non-essential government workers may be told to stay home for at least a couple of days next week. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says it's unacceptable for Republicans to miss the Sept. 30 funding deadline only to have lawmakers reach an agreement on say October first.

"There's no reason for it. This is very straight forward. Why would we not do next month what we're doing this month rather than layoff Army nurses at Ft. Belvoir who are taking care of wounded warriors?" Kaine says. "We should do next month what we're doing this month while we work out the larger budget issues."

Some agencies, such as the Patent Office which takes in money from issuing patents, won't be impacted by a short term shutdown. But others, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, have no way to shield their employees from even a short-term shutdown.

This has some government employees are already bracing for the impact.

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