LOWER MANHATTAN — As one second past midnight Saturday approached, it became more and more apparent that a government shutdown was likely, and that it would affect people in the tri-state area in different ways.
"I hope it doesn't happen," Nancy Crampton told PIX11 News. "It's an awful thing to have happen to our country."
Crampton, a Bronx resident, was leading a walking tour outside of the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.
National Parks Service sites like it will be closed during a government shutdown. However, actual national parks and landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty and Gateway National Recreation Area, should stay open, but with limited services, according to the White House.
That message was not necessarily calming taxpayers' concerns. When asked if leaders of both parties of Congress would come to some sort of agreement that would allow the government to remain open, Elizabeth Cisneros, a tourist from Texas at the Roosevelt Birthplace, was skeptical.
"With this administration, not likely," she said, placing the blame for a shutdown on President Donald Trump. GOP leaders see things differently, of course.
No matter who's at fault for the impasse on a measure to keep funding the government, the fact is that many of the anticipated closures aren't at places or in services on which most residents in our region heavily rely.
For example, the National Archives in Lower Manhattan will be closed until a spending agreement can be reached. Most New Yorkers have no idea that there's even a National Archives office here.
However, there are other federal entities that play bigger roles in the day to day lives of residents of our region. The U.S. Postal Service, for example. It has a budget that is separate from the spending package which Congress is debating, so it's funded, and won't shut down.
Also, USPS letter carriers will deliver Social Security checks, since it's mandatory that they be issued.
Some other government benefit checks, such as unemployment payments, could get delayed, because the federal offices that issue them will at least partially shut down.
Federal courts are funded to stay open, at least for a few weeks. Also active will be the military, air traffic controllers, and -- in theory, at least -- Congress.
Members of Congress are required by law to get paid during a government shutdown. The president also gets paid, by law. Their staffs do not receive compensation when the government shuts down. Neither do more than 800,000 other federal workers.
It was a fact pointed out by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Friday morning. Even though the military will be working, Mulvaney said, "They won't get paid. Our borders will be secure, but they won't get paid. The... folks will fight fires in the West, but they won't get paid."
Those workers will be paid retroactively, in fact. Other federal workers, who get furloughed and sent home, will get paid only by an act of Congress. In past shutdowns, under Republican Congresses during the Clinton and Obama administrations, Congress eventually got the workers paid.
The shutdown in Washington takes on a further local flavor with the fact that, on Friday morning, Republican leaders were calling it the "Schumer Shutdown," after the Senate minority leader who's negotiating the terms of the spending measure, New York senior senator Charles Schumer.
The nickname seemed to die down, after President Trump called Schumer to the White House early Friday afternoon to try and get a compromise. Trump had, over the course of the last week, indicated a willingness to negotiate with Democratic leaders, then changed his mind publicly, only to try anew on Friday.
As the hours ticked away, the signs of a deal emerging, and a shutdown being averted, became more and more faint.