November 10, 1995
Web posted at: 11:40 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN)--Washington is bracing for a shutdown. A presidential veto could bring an abrupt halt to many government programs as early as Tuesday and repercussions would be felt far beyond the beltway.
If you'll need a new passport, or waiting for a veterans benefits check, or even planning a visit to the Smithsonian, be prepared. If a new temporary spending bill is not enacted by midnight Monday, you can just forget about all of the above and a lot more.
"Let's make no mistake about it. When you shut down government services to the people of this country it is going to have an impact on those who, frankly, are innocent victims of this poltical debate," says Leon Panetta, the White House Chief of Staff.
Most non-essential government programs would be shut down or seriously scaled back, resulting in many inconveniences, some more serious than others. For example, the White House says new Social Security applications would not be processed. In addition, about 800,000 federal workers would be sent home.
"People sometimes forget how many government employees there are in the country and if there is a government shutdown on Tuesday, says Greg Valliere, director of the Washington Research Group, I think it could have a ripple effect throughout the entire economy, with people not spending, with people staying at home." (153K AIFF sound or 153K WAV sound)
The General Accounting Office estimates if the government were to shut down for three business days it could cost tax-payers as much as $600 million.
Federal agencies began drawing up shutdown plans in August. White House Budget Director Alice Rivlin is expected to release final details on Saturday.
The last time this happened was over the Columbus Day weekend in 1990 so the economic damage was less severe. That shutdown, according to the GAO, cost taxpayers $3.4 million.
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