The Red, White & Blue. Photo by S. Abrams

Talk of a possible government shut down is ratcheting up on Capitol Hill as both Republicans and Democrats dig in their heels over signing what is known as a continuing resolution (CR) to keep funding the government. Getting a deal done maybe top of mind for politicians but locals and visitors to the Nation’s Capital going through Union Station, just a stone’s throw from where the contentious debate is taking place, have mixed feelings about the situation.

Larry, a middle-aged man in town for a convention, is not worried about the looming event.

If government fails to approve the spending bill on March 4, the reality is visitors to national landmarks will be turned away and  applications for passports and visas will be delayed. However, social security and veteran checks will still go out. Its unclear at this time how many federal workers will be furloughed come midnight this Friday, should lawmakers fail to reach an agreement. During the Clinton Administration shut-down of 1995, over 800,000 were sent home.

Steve, who works in the district as a researcher but not for the government, is on the fence about the issue.

As people scurry by the Starbucks to their train or taxi or the waiting arms of loved ones, one visitor, just off the train from Boston, expresses concern over the decisions made today and the impact it would have on her generation.  Marie, a college student, also thought about the residents of D.C.

Larry believes it will all work out. From what he remembers, the previous shut-down didn’t last long.

In fact, under President Bill Clinton, there were two shut-downs. First, in 1995, starting on November 14, lasting for six days and second, starting in mid-December of that year until January 6, 1996, for about 21 days. The cost of the first Clinton shut-down was estimated at $800 million dollars.  With the fiscal year not ending until September 30, hopefully a compromise can be reach soon.