Washington Would Feel Shutdown More than America

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The Washington media elites and politicians are about as preoccupied with a potential government shutdown as they would be if Armaggedon were on the way.

But while it would have a big effect in the nation's capital, especially on federal workers, the average American might not see that much impact.

Pollsters and pundits are fixated on who will win the political battle over the government shutdown: the White House and Senate Democrats or Republicans and the Tea Party.

Republicans claim they have passed a bill that would keep the government funded.

"The president is the one saying I will shut down the government if you don't give me everything I want on Obamacare," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday on CBS "Face the Nation."

But Democrats bristle at GOP efforts to defund or delay implementation of Obamacare.

"It is wrong to do a shutdown of the government as a lever to make change," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., told Fox News.

While the news media focus on all of the federal workers who won't get paychecks if Congress can't agree on a plan to fund the government, not much attention is focused on the fact that the first federal shutdown in 17 years is only partial.

Among the most dramatic effects:

-- 800,000 federal workers considered to be non-essential would be told now to show up for work Tuesday.
-- National parks, forests, and monuments would temporarily close.
-- The Department of Homeland Security would put about 14 percent of its employees on leave, which could slow security lines at airports and border crossings.
-- Passport offices would not be open.

Still not all federal activities would cease.

-- Active duty military will stay on the job and Congress will almost certainly guarantee their pay.
-- Retirees will still get their social security checks.
-- Post offices will remain open.
-- And Medicare and Medicaid recipients will still be covered.

Americans may be tired of hearing about potential government shutdowns, but the unpleasant fact is that they voted for it. Republicans added 63 House seats in 2010 with Obamacare as the central issue.

Voters usually choose a divided government at the polls, and they'll have a chance to weigh in on the matter in the 2014 and 2016 elections. Until then, expect the Capitol Hill blame game to continue.

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.