Federal Government Shutdown

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill predicts that Congress will reach a budget agreement in mid-December that averts a replay of the federal shutdown and near-default that occurred less than a week ago.

Speaking on this week’s Politically Speaking podcast, McCaskill, D-Mo., was optimistic that both parties in both chambers will seek to cut a deal.  The podcast is a joint venture between the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Since President Barack Obama signed legislation reopening the federal government and raising the nation’s debt ceiling, some St. Louis-based institutions are getting back to normal.

St. Louis Public Radio

National Parks and other federally-run recreation sites in Missouri are open again, now that the partial government shutdown is over.

Those sites include the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.  Ann Honius with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says there are no lingering problems or issues stemming from the 16-day shutdown.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I’ve had it with zombies and Republicans. Every newscast begins with the latest demands of House Republicans that must be met before the government is allowed to function and the nation can pay its debts.

St. Louis Public Radio

A spokesman for Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his office is continuing to explore options on how to reopen the Gateway Arch and other National Park Service sites in Missouri.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A group of protesters Tuesday afternoon called on Missouri U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) to vote to end the federal government shutdown that began October first.

The 40 demonstrators picketed outside Luetkemeyer's Jefferson City office and also delivered a so-called "cease and desist order" to members of his staff.    Allison Dreith is with the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, the group that sponsored the demonstration.

St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has joined a growing list of states looking to reopen national parks within their borders as the federal government shutdown continues.

In a statement released late Friday, Governor Jay Nixon (D) says he's directed members of his staff to put together a proposal for reopening National Park Service sites in Missouri, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park.  He calls the two sites "national treasures" that draw millions of tourists every year and "generate significant economic activity."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The current edition of the U.S. House of Representatives has been likened to a hip hop band from Detroit called the Insane Clown Posse and -- with due apologies to insane clowns everywhere -- I can't think of a more apt comparison.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

A deadline has been extended for some Illinois state retirees to submit certain health insurance documents because of the federal government shutdown.

Recipients of various state health insurance programs need to provide IRS documents by a late October deadline in order to prove that their dependents should still be eligible to receive state health insurance coverage. But as the federal shutdown drags on, the transcripts aren't being released by the IRS.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The more he talked about the federal government’s shutdown, the more whipped up Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon got.

“Folks are very concerned and very disturbed that their government in Washington, D.C. can’t do even the basics of keeping their doors open,’’ Nixon told reporters Monday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Nicole Starr is a furloughed federal employee from Florissant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Faced with a shutdown with no end in sight, she told the Beacon she’s trying hard to make her “money stretch until we’re able to go back to work.”

"As far as being paid retroactively, that’s fine. But in the meantime, we don’t have any income coming in, and the bills don’t stop,” said Starr, who noted that AmerenUE and Laclede Gas wouldn’t delay her bill because of the shutdown.

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Civilian workers returned to Scott Air Force Base today after almost a week on furlough because of the government shutdown. Their return was a result of a Department of Defense ruling that civilian workers whose mission contributes to “the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members” could return to the job with pay. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites -

With the federal government shutting down this week, Americans across the political spectrum seem united in disgust at the way our government is – or isn't – functioning. We deserve better, citizens seem to agree – though they disagree on what better looks like.


Democratic Congressman Bill Enyart is frustrated with the partial government shutdown.

Enyart, who represents areas of Southern Illinois and East St. Louis, supports a continuing resolution that would allow the National Guard to be paid and put the VA and 70 percent of the CIA back to work. A veteran with over 35 years of military service, Enyart contends that the best way to support the troops is to reopen the government.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although he’s no fan of Obamacare, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said Wednesday that it was a mistake for House Republicans to have forced a government shutdown unless the health insurance program was repealed.

Mo. National Guard, via Flickr/M. Queiser

The federal government shutdown has now hit the Missouri National Guard.

Late Wednesday, the Guard furloughed nearly a thousand of their 1,400 federal technicians considered to be non-essential.  Spokeswoman, Major Tammy Spicer, says the technicians include both civilian and uniformed staff.

"Full-time federal technicians do a variety of jobs across the state, anything from clerical, to mechanical, to aviation related," Spicer said.

(Bernt Rostad)

On day two of the government shutdown, it continues to cause headaches, including for a group of Missouri and Kansas veterans that flew to Washington. 

The nonprofit Heartland Honor Flight organized the trip and the closed National World War II Memorial was the first stop Wednesday. The group was met by many Missouri and Kansas lawmakers, who helped them get inside the memorial where barriers had been set up. 

(Kate Essig/St. Louis Public Radio)

“No shutdown, let’s work!"

This was the anthem of protestors demonstrating today in front of the Federal Center in St. Louis. The protest, comprised of federal employees and their supporters, was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees in response to the shutdown’s effect on furloughed government workers.

Beyond the loss of wages for government employees, protestors also criticized the shutdown of some government services. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Close to 1,000 members of the Missouri National Guard are expected to be furloughed shortly, as a result of the federal government shutdown, state officials announced Wednesday.

The furloughed group represents 70 percent of the 1,400 of the Guard’s "federal technician" staff. Their pay is covered by federal money and affected by the shutdown. The remaining 30 percent are deemed essential and will stay on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For Jose Ramirez, the government shutdown was a bewildering experience for himself and other federal employees.

Ramirez, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said his colleagues in the General Services Administration Building in north St. Louis were facing a lot of confusion on Tuesday – and plenty of uncertainty.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As the sun sets on the first day of the first shutdown of the federal government in 17 years, the partisan divides in Washington and in the region are hardening — with no end in sight.

Some of Missouri’s members of Congress, in both parties, have laid off staff, closed district offices or are declining to accept their own pay.  Others are keeping their pay and trying to keep their operations running as usual.