Government shutdown could hurt Tampa Bay children

No end in sight to stalemate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lawmakers from both parties in Washington spent their Friday exchanging blame for the government shutdown, even as they were heading home for the weekend with no new negotiations scheduled.

Sen. Marco Rubio, (R) Florida, took to the senate floor to blast the president for his personal exchanges with House Speaker John Boehner.

"You are the President of the United States," Rubio said.  "Act like the President of the United States.  Rise above that stuff.  Your job is to bring this nation together."

But the president insisted that it was Republican partisanship and their unwavering demand that democrats agree to scale back the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

"I've said I'm happy to have negotiations with the republicans on a whole range of issues," Mr. Obama said.  "But we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people."

Speaker Boehner seemed as defiant as ever when asked about resolving the impasse.

"This isn't some damn game," Boehner said.  "The American people don't want their government shut down and neither do I."  

Still, republicans didn't seem to have an endgame for the standoff, which the group Global Insight estimates is costing taxpayers $12.5 million an hour in lost productivity.

Tampa Bay area groups dependent on federal funds were concerned that with the shutdown dragging on, they could eventually run out of money.  

In Hernando County, the Head Start program provides schooling and food services to hundreds of children.  While the group expects to have enough funds to stay open next week, it's not sure after that.

"This is not just we take our kids to day care for the day.  This is my kids are not going to get two meals a day," said Elizabeth Hustead, a family and planning manager for the program.

Lawmakers won't return to Washington until next week, but it's unclear whether each side will be willing to compromise to get a government spending bill passed, and whether it can be done before the October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

 

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