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Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island close following government shutdown

NEW YORK — The U.S. government shutdown had an instant impact on two of the world’s top tourist destinations: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The National Park Service announced that both New York sites would be closed Saturday “due to a lapse in appropriations.” Late Friday, the Senate failed to approve legislation to keep the government from shutting down after the midnight deadline.

Americans woke up Saturday to learn that bickering politicians in Washington had failed to keep their government in business, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Harbor Tours will be available in place of the visits until the government shutdown is resolved.

Also not earning money was Statue Cruises, which charges $18.50 per ticket to see the statue dedicated in 1886 as a gift from France. On normal days, as many as 3,000 people board the ferries to take a close look, said Rafael Abreu, spokesman for the ferry company whose offices are on Ellis Island. During the shutdown, at least half of the daily $55,000 or so in revenue would be lost.

For those who have already purchased tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, exchanges are available for the Harbor Tour, which is still going on.

Fore more information on tickets, visitors can call 1-877-LADY-TIX (1877-523-9849)

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late Friday night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster.

Democrats balked in an effort to pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect “dreamer” immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.

Democrats are laying fault for the shutdown on Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House and have struggled with building internal consensus. Republicans are holding Democrats responsible after they declined to provide the votes needed to overcome a filibuster over their desire to force the passage of legislation to protect some 700,000 younger immigrants from deportation.

 

The last shutdown came in 2013. Tea party Republicans, in a strategy not unlike the one Schumer is employing now, sought to use a must-pass budget bill to try to force President Barack Obama to delay implementation of his health care law.

Associated Press contributed to this report.