(10/01/13) - The partial government shutdown has Congress and American families in turmoil.
More than six hours into the shutdown, Congress still can't seem to end the bitter budget battle, which has been fueled by the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans in the House tied their effort to defund or delay the federal health care law to approving a short term extension of the federal budget. But Democrats in the Senate won't budge.
Families in Michigan and many other states are taking the brunt of the bickering.
State Budget Director John Nixon tells us, at a press conference, the federal government shut down is costing the state of Michigan about $18 million per day.
Now some federal employees can't work as a result of the shut down, and that could include workers here in Michigan.
"This is just ridiculous," Nixon said.
Nixon tells us they've sent generic furlough notices to unions in the state, but they haven't laid anyone off yet. They're hoping congress comes up with a budget before they'll need to enforce those furloughs.
The stat also imposed a hiring freeze.
"It'll have an impact on the economy because there will be hundreds of millions of dollars not coming into the state," he said.
How this shut down impacts Michigan will really depend on how long it lasts.
The biggest programs impacted will be food stamps and the Temporary Assistance to Needy families program. The federal government needs to authorize funds for those programs, and there's only enough money to last through the end of October.
The way Nixon put it, everyday people in Michigan won't feel much of an effect if this ends by next week. If this shutdown lasts a month or more, we could feel some pain.
Federal funds for schools and funding for school lunches should be OK unless the shutdown lasts longer than a month.
Some people in Mid-Michigan, however, are already feeling the impact of the partial government shutdown.
Because of the gridlock in Washington, a wildlife refuge is closed, and while other federal offices are open, some services are limited.
The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County is closed for now. The gates are locked around the area where people ordinarily enjoy up close views of nature. A news release states all public activities there are canceled because current funding expired on Oct. 1.
Other federal government entities were open, but in some cases, there were limits.
Isabella Reign came to the Social Security Administration office in Saginaw.
"I need to get a benefits letter for my mom, she is doing a recertification for her housing," she said.
Reign was told she could not do this at the office because of the shutdown. She was instructed to go online to get the proper forms. She says its not much of an inconvenience, but she's not happy with legislators in Washington.
"Sometimes those we elect forget what their jobs are and who they owe. They are so far removed from being ordinary citizens they forgot what its like to live day to day," she said.
Diane Spero, of Saginaw, had no problem during a visit to the office.
"Signing up for Medicare," she said.
No problem now, but she worries about the overall financial health of the country.
"If we don't balance the budget, it's going to impact us a lot more," she said.
No significant changes are evident at the National Guard Armory in Buena Vista Township, but training and operations could be affected over time. The same is true for the Saginaw Veterans Administration Medical Center, where payments in certain programs will be affected if the shutdown lasts for more than a month.
As far as the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, the person we were told to contact for more information left a voice message saying he is off work because of the shutdown.
ABC12 Main Station