News / USA

Several Tourist Spots Could Close if Government Shuts Down

Several Tourist Spots Could Close if Government Shuts Downi
X
September 27, 2013 2:11 AM
Annual funding for the U.S. government will expire on September 30th. It’s up to Congress to pass a bill to fund the government past October 1st. But the two major political parties are at odds, and a government shutdown could occur. In that case, only essential government employees would report to work. And many popular tourist spots would close. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti shows us what Washington would look like during a shutdown.
Annual funding for the U.S. government will expire on September 30th. It’s up to Congress to pass a bill to fund the government past October 1st.  But the two major political parties are at odds, and a government shutdown could occur. In that case, only essential government employees would report to work. And many popular tourist spots would close.

Every week after pre-school, Jack walks here to the National Zoo to watch the elephants.

Jack’s nanny, Kim Hazelton, doesn’t know what they'll do if a government shutdown closes the zoo.

“I’m sure that it would be a total disaster every single day because that’s the first thing he asks for. He wants to come and see the animals," said Hazelton.

Should a shutdown occur, none of these people would be seen on the sidewalk here at the zoo. Only essential zookeepers would be allowed in, to feed and take care of the animals.

The National Zoo is part of the world’s largest museum complex - the Smithsonian Institution, which is funded by the government.  Entry is free - but the Smithsonian relies on concessions for extra money, and they - and the museums -  will be closed during a shutdown.  The Smithsonians' Linda St. Thomas.

“It will be tough for visitors, particularly ones who don’t check in advance and just come and see a sign on a door," said St. Thomas.

Like the shutdown in the mid 1990s, work would continue on national security, air traffic control, food safety, in banking and prisons.  

But no visa or passport applications would be processed. There would be no new clinical research. The national parks would close, and millions of tourists would be shut out.

The nation is still recovering from budget cuts called sequestration, when half of all government employees were furloughed for up to six days.  

Stephen Fuller directs the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.  He says a shutdown would have an added effect on the economy.  

“The debt ceiling, what are they going to do about that? And, whether the sequester will continue into next year and then you put right in the middle of that, we are going to shut down government too?  All together this becomes very impactful," said Fuller.

Congress could push to the deadline final action to fund the government after midnight, October first.   The Republican-led House of Representatives is seeking a way to defund President Obama's health care reform, which has set up a stand off with the Democratic majority in the Senate.

Francoise Porch from California doesn’t have faith in the legislators.  

"And we want to show the world how to run a democracy? Excuse me!  Elect some smarter people," said Porch.

Fuller says the threat of a shutdown already is slowing the economy because consumers are hesitant to buy, too worried that they might not have a job to go to on October 1.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More