The clock is ticking, and failure to reach an agreement moved the government closer to a massive shutdown at midnight. Many essential workers, such as mail carriers, air traffic controllers and the military, would stay on the job.
Military personnel will also see a cut in their paychecks. The Pentagon says a government shutdown would delay the $100,000 death benefit paid to families if a military service member dies in the line of duty during the shutdown. Families would get the money eventually, after the government re-opens.
A Pentagon official says if a shutdown ends by next Tuesday, the military may get full paychecks on April 15th. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel details. If the shutdown goes longer, military personnel would get only partial pay.
The official says about 400,000 of the Defense Department's 800,000 civilian employees will be furloughed, while all military members will report to work.
In the Pentagon, the roughly 16,000 military members will work, as will about half of the 7,000 civilians. The White House says it would support reimbursing the pay of employees who are furloughed as a result of a potential government shutdown.
Here in Mississippi, at midnight is when the doors to Natchez Trace visitor centers will be locked, if the federal government can't pass a budget.
That lack of funding will trickle down to the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and further down until it lands at the Natchez Trace Parkway from north Mississippi down south.
The superintendent is preparing to make cuts. "The big thing for us is making sure we're prepared, and we've got our plans in place to deal effectively with shutdown, should that come."
The Superintendent says campgrounds across the parkway, picnic areas, and restroom comfort areas would be closed if the shutdown takes place.
According to figures from the National Park Service, 40,000 people travel that three-state parkway every day, farther down the Natchez Trace, the City of Vicksburg is bracing for a government shutdown.
The Vicksburg Military Park gates will be dead bolted Saturday morning. Fifteen to twenty thousand people visit that civil war site weekly. And this is Vicksburg's busiest tourist season.
Only essential government workers will remain on the job. Others will be furloughed.
Meanwhile, the nation's largest federal employee union says forcing some federal employees to work without pay during a government shutdown violates the U.S. Constitution.
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.