There is a way to prevent government shutdowns. A change in U.S. law would keep federal workers on the job and ensure that treasured sites stay open during a budget fight, instead of becoming political pawns.
CINCINNATI - With thousands of federal employees across Ohio idled without paychecks, business leaders are getting nervous about the potential economic impact of a lengthy government shutdown.
At least 10,500 employees of either the Ohio National Guard or the state's largest military installation were sent home without pay Tuesday by the partial federal government shutdown, with more job cutbacks in federal agency and related offices in the state.
Some 8,700 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base were put on unpaid leave, for what the base estimates as a loss of $5 million a day in salaries. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, a tourism drawing card with some 1 million visitors a year, closed there Tuesday.
Restaurants, retailers, car dealers and hoteliers in suburban Fairborn near the base all would feel the pain from a prolonged shutdown, said Paul Newman, executive director of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce. He said local businesses are dependent upon the base, whose employees eat, shop and live in the area.
"I think the great concern is the great unknown. We don't know long this could last," Newman said Wednesday. "It's a major blow."
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said he had sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging him to reinstate all civilian employees at Wright-Patterson, saying they provide critical support to the U.S. military.
Benjamin Johnson, spokesman of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said it had received some 1,000 initial claims for unemployment compensation from federal employees as of Wednesday morning.
Other immediate impacts ranged from a hot dog vendor outside the downtown Cincinnati federal building reporting fewer customers to a Cleveland-based tour operator worried about students' Washington trips to uncertainty about an upcoming marathon run in northeast Ohio. The closure of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park could result in postponement of the Oct. 13 Towpath Marathon, expected to draw thousands of runners and spectators to the area between Akron and Cleveland.
While there is a collective sigh of relief in Peninsula now that the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Scenic Railroad are open again, the financial damage has been done.
Congress has passed legislation to reopen the partially-shuttered federal government and avert a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations, clearing the measure for President Barack Obama's promised signature.
The Senate has voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown.
The reopening of national parks will be good news to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which will continue the popular "Ales on Rails" for Cleveland Beer Week, but the shutdown may keep brews made specifically for beer week out of Ohio.
Even if the government shutdown ends soon, there are many people in northeast Ohio who have gone without paychecks. With that in mind, some financial institutions are lending a hand to help.
Senate leaders announced last-minute agreement Wednesday to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown. Congress raced to pass the measure by day's end.
WEWS-TV Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton looks at the political battle over the government shutdown.
Time growing desperately short, Senate leaders took command of efforts to avert a Treasury default and end the partial government shutdown Tuesday night after a last big attempt by House Republicans abruptly collapsed.
It seems like every day we're hearing about a new way the government shutdown is impacting us in northwest Ohio. As it drags out, you can expect more effects on your life in both small and big ways.