WASHINGTON - It's Day 3 of the federal government shutdown, with no end in sight. President Obama says he's "exasperated," which probably sums up the feelings of lawmakers in Congress and the rest of the nation.
Here's what you need to know for Thursday, Oct. 3:
Obama meets with lawmakers, but shutdown continues
Congress and the White House aren't any closer to ending the budget impasse that sparked the shutdown, but President Obama and top Senate and House leaders met for the first time Wednesday to discuss the situation. The issues are still the same: Obama and Democrats won't accept any stopgap spending bill to fund the government that has restrictions. Republicans aren't budging from trying to affect the health care law signed by Obama. Every day of the shutdown also brings the nation closer to reaching another fiscal crisis on Oct. 17, when the government will reach the debt ceiling.
Children caught in the middle of budget fight
Children are the collateral damage in the shutdown, and its duration could have a devastating impact on some. Pre-kindergarten classes under the Head Start program have been forced to close. Patients with incurable diseases have been turned away from the National Institute of Health's Clinical Center. About 8.8 million women and children are at risk of not getting vouchers through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC.
Freebies to furloughed workers ease the pain
With 800,000 federal employees furloughed from their jobs, companies inside and outside of Washington are trying to lure customers and media attention by offering everything from free cups of coffee to freebie sandwiches and free oil changes. One example: Federal workers who own a Hyundai can stop making car payments for as long as the shutdown keeps them off the job. All the bad political karma is getting reshaped into positive PR by dozens of companies desperately trying to make public relations lemonade out of the government shutdown lemon.
Shutdown clogs pipeline of government data for business
The river of data that federal agencies release daily on everything from job growth to divorce rates is drying up in the shutdown. At the top of the list is the closely watched Labor Department report on U.S. employment in September. Reports on factory orders, retail sales and wholesale prices will likely be postponed if the shutdown goes into next week. Economists and industry officials say the data vacuum will likely affect stock markets and even business hiring and investment if the government is closed for more than a week or two.
Pentagon OKs service academy football games
The Defense Department gave the go-ahead late Wednesday for the military service academies to play their scheduled football games this weekend, including the sold-out Navy vs. Air Force matchup in Annapolis, Md. The games were in jeopardy because the Pentagon suspended all intercollegiate athletics at the shutdown's start. Army is scheduled to play Boston College, but neither athletic department had officially announced the game was happening.
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