government shutdown

Two Tea Party-backed, defund-Obamacare-or-we'll-shut-down-the-government Senate leaders. Two very different outcomes.

Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.

The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. President Obama signed the bill into law after midnight Thursday.

Joseph Levy/University of Texas

Science is another casualty of the federal government shutdown. But for Antarctic scientists the effects will linger even after the Congressional impasse is resolved.

University of Texas research associate and Antarctic geologist Joseph Levy was supposed to get on a plane Thursday headed south for the third and final year of a study about ancient ice.

But last week he was told to cancel his plans because of a lack of funding, and he says the government shutdown could jeopardize time sensitive scientific research.

This post was last updated at 7:19 p.m. ET.

After an hour-long meeting with President Obama, Republicans said they have agreed to keep talking, in hopes of bridging a gulf that has already led to a government shutdown and is threatening the first default in U.S. history.

In the mid-1970’s, Eugene Robinson began his career in journalism. He joined The Washington Post in the '80's, covering domestic and foreign affairs before moving on to a managing editor post.

More recently, Robinson's become known nationally as a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and contributor to MSNBC. Prior to his appearance at the University of Texas to deliver this year's Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lecture in Journalism, Robinson stopped by the KUT studios to talk about the current political climate and how the politics of Texas – and healthcare – factor into it. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The government shutdown has halted the federal investigation into the West Fertilizer Plant explosion. The explosion in April killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others.

“Some of the brightest scientists in the world are home today rather than doing their work to protect, and give us information so that we can have the right rules and regulations to protect our environment,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, said during a press conference yesterday. “The monitoring and enforcement is not being done as it should be done.” Cardin chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.

The ranks of furloughed workers includes most employees on the Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial accidents such as the West Fertilizer Plant explosion.

The latest House GOP gambit in the fiscal fight is ... wait for it ... a supercommittee.

But Republicans aren't calling it a supercommittee since that's the term for the failed panel that brought us the the sequester.

KUT News

It’s week two of the government shutdown. And while thousands of government workers have been furloughed, members of congress continue to collect their pay.

Some congress members recognize the bad optics of the situation. As reported by the Washington Post, more than a hundred congressmen are refusing their salaries, or donating their salaries to charity, for the duration of the shutdown. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) has even filed a bill, the Shutdown Member of Congress Pay Act of 2013, that would suspend members' salary during the shutdown. 

The second week of the shutdown is, so far, looking a lot like Week 1. Even so, here are a few data points that might be worth your attention:

U.S. civilian defense workers heading back to work on Monday

As The Two-Way's Bill Chappell reported earlier, the Department of Defense is ordering most of its furloughed civilian employees — amounting to about 400,000 workers — back to work.

(We most recently updated this post at 8:31 p.m. ET.)

We said it Tuesday: "No end in sight."

The story's the same a day later.

Pardon us for being repetitive, but there's no end in sight to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Update: The federal shutdown has happened and it's affecting some Central Texans.

All three presidential libraries in the state are closed – including the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. The San Antonio Missions and Big Bend National Park are also closed.

At Fort Hood, some civilian workers are now on furlough and many services on the post are either shut down or scaled back – including the commissary. Right now, the medical center at Fort Hood will be open at least through the rest of this week.

NASA employees – including those at the Johnson Space Center are also being affected.

Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:

As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.

Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.

House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not reach agreement by the midnight deadline on a spending bill to keep the government operating, triggering an immediate shutdown of nonessential services and the furlough of nonessential personnel potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

Updated at 1:40 a.m. ET, House Speaker Boehner's Comments:

Not even an hour after the House voted in favor of a bill that would avert a shutdown of the federal government, but also delay a key part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the Senate rejected it with a vote of 54-46.

With less than an hour before the government runs out of authority to spend money, the ball is now back in the court of Speaker John Boehner in the House.