Shutdown woes pile up as Washington gridlock holds

Shutdown woes pile up as Washington gridlock holds

WASHINGTON - Tourism sagged near US national parks, Washington-area workers filed more unemployment claims and futures markets grappled with a lack of data as the government shutdown, now in its second week, stretched across the nation and upset many aspects of American life.

On the national seashores along North Carolina's Outer Banks islands, business owners compared the financial magnitude of closed beaches and waterways to that of a hurricane-forced evacuation. Scott Geib, who sells photographs near the closed Cape Hatteras lighthouse, said sales were way down last week from what would normally be a good week for him in early fall.

Foreign visitors are few and far between at Rod's Steak House in Williams, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, owner Larry Sanchez said. Business fell off about 25 per cent by the end of the first week the park was closed, he said.

At remote Grand Canyon National Park, where thousands of restaurant, hotel and other workers went without pay, a Phoenix food bank delivered about 600 boxes of food to workers.

"We got a call for help," said Beverly Damore, chief executive of the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance.

In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski said, hunters are barred from federal lands, placing their year's supply of game meat in jeopardy.

"This is hunting season. This is when Alaskans are filling their freezers for winter," Murkowski, a Republican, said during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama called for "reasonable Republicans"to pass legislation to fund the government and end the pain for millions of tourists, workers and other Americans who rely on federally funded services.

On their part, congressional Republicans insist that any legislation to fund the government should also delay carrying out Obama's signature healthcare law. Democrats have refused to include changes to the law in a government-funding deal.

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