Good Question: What does a government shutdown really mean?

The clock is ticking for lawmakers working to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government.

The short term spending bill passed by lawmakers last month runs out Friday, leaving the government with no more money.

Good Question: What does a government shutdown really mean?

The federal government is headed for another potential shutdown, unless lawmakers strike a spending deal by the end of this week.

In the past few months Congress has approved two short term extensions.

The one thing both sides agree on is that now they need a bill to fund the government through September.

"This is more than numbers, this involves people," said Democratic Senator Harry Reid.

Republicans and Democrats appear to be inching towards a compromise that would slash 33 billion dollars from the budget for the rest of the year.

Not every one is happy, Democrats worry it could put the nation's economic recovery in jeopardy.

"This bill did such mean spirited things, not to cut the debt, but send an ideological message," said Senator Reid.

"We're trying to reduce spending, and our Democratic friends are hanging on to old ideas that every time you try to reduce spending, you're being cruel and mean," said Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.

If a compromise isn't met-a partial shutdown looms.

In the mid 90s a government shutdown meant:

Closure of nearly 400 national park service sites that included national museums and monuments.

200,000 passport applications went unprocessed

800,000 government employees were furloughed

What would not be affected would be essential services like air traffic control, national security, the military and social security checks would still go out.

Neither side wants to blame the other for a shutdown so they are expected to reach a deal.

The debate over spending is far from over, Tuesday Republicans unveil their plan for 2012, one they say cuts nearly four trillion from the deficit over 10 years and makes changes to medicare.


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