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Federal Shutdown Will Be Felt in Tennessee


WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — If you had business with the federal government today, you're likely out of luck. Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.

As the clock struck midnight, House Republicans were still insisting that Senate Democrats negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.

An estimated 800,000 federal workers face furloughs. The Tennessean says there are about 25,000 federal employees in the state. Critical functions like air traffic control and military operations will continue. Social Security benefits will be paid.

However, other federal functions in Tennessee will grind to a halt. The state's 12 national parks will be closed, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. WATE in Knoxville notes the park is a major tourist draw for Tennessee, attracting as many as a million visitors in October alone.

The Leaf-Chronicle in Knoxville says furloughed Ft. Campbell employees will establish what they’re calling an “informational picket” at noon today at Patriots Park in Clarksville and will remain there till the shutdown ends.

A spokesman for Middle Tennessee State University told WMOT the shutdown will have little immediate impact, but an email to faculty and staff noted that three federal agencies the university deals with routinely concerning grants and contracts will not be open for business.

Governor Haslam told reporters yesterday he’s frustrated by the budget impasse and has asked all state agencies to let him know how they’ll be affected by the federal shutdown.

Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper told the Tennessean that he’s “tired of the political grandstanding and theatrics that risk damaging average citizens.”