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Shutdown brings the sparkle out of the national Christmas tree



WASHINGTON (AP) – The lights did not sparkle. The toy trains did not buzz. Even the bathrooms nearby were locked.

The national Christmas tree, symbolizing a country's seasonal jubilation, instead stood as an icon of a crippling government, as the partial closure with a number of frozen federal agencies on vacation ranged 800,000 state employees who were either idle or about to die and the destruction The general public would increase after the quiet period this week.

In many national parks, facilities were already closed when the parks were ever accessible, and Thousands of federal buildings should remain closed when the working week resumes, unless President Donald Trump and members of the congress quickly broke through a dead end According to the White House, it could last until 201

9.

Under cloudy skies and fresh breeze on the third day of the shutdown, the capital provided little tourist wonder for visitors such as Greg Forcherio of Columbia, Maryland, a governmental non-office clerk where he could work after holidays. Federal buildings remained closed. He, his wife, and toddler arrived on Monday to see Colorado's huge glittering spruce tree serve as a national Christmas tree, usually a meeting place for Washington vacationers.

But a locked chain-link fence blocked access The grounds and nearby White House Visitor Center and bathrooms were closed. A hand-scrawled sign led visitors to portable toilets, which were also chained. "Somehow it's annoying when you have small children," said Forcherio.

Access to the site was restored later on Monday, and finally, as night fell on Christmas Eve, the lights returned. The government had announced a day earlier that it would be closed off for closure because the repairs would have slowed down after a vandalism on the tree before the weekend. It was re-opened with money from the National Park Foundation, a charity.

  An employee of the National Park Service closes the gate for visitors to the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White Hou


Associated Press

A National Park Service employee closes the gate for visitors to the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House.

A work organization representing US Treasury officials said Monday that federal workers across the country would be spending less on family vacation spending due to the closure.

"Just in case someone still thinks a partial closure over a holiday weekend is harmless, think again," said Tony Reardon of the National Treasury Employees Union in a statement. "Your friends and neighbors across the country who work for the federal government are already showing signs of financial stress."

In the mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Taylor Futch said that shutting down her family is already causing additional stress. The only income comes from her husband, a wildlife biologist working in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with black bears. With two young daughters, the couple is due to pay $ 800 early in July, as well as a mortgage, a car payment and the usual bills.

"We're trying to collect a few things in case I have to start selling stuff on Facebook or eBay," she said. "If his paycheck on Friday does not come here, we may not have enough for the mortgage."

Federal employees at the posts affected by the averaging gap remain unpaid, as long as the standstill continues. They were expected to be paid retroactively as soon as the deadlock was breached.

The closure unevenly affected the national parks, some of which were still bare-bones, others money from states or nonprofit organizations, and others that were closed. The Arizona and Utah officials implemented plans to keep open the Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks and offer services such as public toilets, shuttles, and garbage disposal.

Concessions such as lodges remained open, and Utah's money for them. The parks in that state included visitor centers.

Between the fully enclosed locations: in the southwest alone: ​​Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico, White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico, petrified National Park in the north of Arizona National Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in south central Arizona.

More than half of the approximately 800,000 federal employees who are struggling with salary increases were considered essential, such as US intelligence agents and the Transportation Security Administration agent at the airport. About 380,000 people should be released.

It was expected that the legislation repatriating workers would clear Congress.

The immediate impact was mitigated by the time of the deadlock, which includes a weekend and now Christmas Eve and Christmas holidays. But before Thursday, when the House and Senate returned to work, there was little chance of solving anything.

Trump stayed in the White House, canceled plans to spend the Florida vacation, and dropped a tide of tweets on Monday over his critics and his insistence on spending money on a border wall, the issue at the center of the budget dispute.

Not far from these quarters was Terri Lyons, who was visiting with her 27-year-old daughter from Rockville, Maryland. Like every year, the lights on one of her favorite monuments, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, took place when she visited the Visited on sunday evening. A single leader tried to lead tourists around in the dark.

But people were attracted to the illuminated Lincoln Memorial, she said. "It was the only one with light." On Monday morning, Lyons stood by the fence surrounding the tree and listened to the foreign tourists around her, saying that she was embarrassed. "I have a feeling for the people trying to visit from outside the country, what they think of us," she said.
Associated Press writer Kimberlee Kruesi of Nashville, Tennessee, and Paul Davenport of Phoenix contributed to the report.


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