Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
(Photo: Mike Stewart, AP)
The partial federal government shutdown begins Day 14 amid even greater anxiety. The nation could face its first-ever default if the debt ceiling is not raised by Thursday. What you need to know on Monday, Oct. 14:
Shutdown, debt deal hangs on Senate leaders
It's come down to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his GOP counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Many on Capitol Hill are looking at talks between the two Senate leaders as the last - and best - hope for a deal that would end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit of $16.7 trillion. The two leaders asserted control over negotiations to end the stalemate on Saturday, when it became clear that House Speaker John Boehner could not strike a deal with the White House on his own. Reid said he was "optimistic," while Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Republicans are "very unified" behind McConnell.
Mount Rushmore will reopen today
In one of several deals between a state and the federal government, Mount Rushmore will welcome visitors again Monday. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said it will cost $15,200 a day for the national memorial to four of the nation's presidents to stay open. At least a dozen businesses or organizations are partnering with the state to pay the operating costs. The Statute of Liberty and Grand Canyon have also reopened. With the National Park Service one of the hardest-hit federal agencies in the shutdown, the Obama administration announced last week it would allow states to pay to reopen any of the country's 401 properties managed by the NPS.
Visitors turned away from Normandy cemeteries
While there's good news for some visitors to historic sites in the United States, the same can't be said for visitors who want to pay their respects at the final resting place of U.S. troops who died during the invasion of Normandy, France, in World War II. The Wall Street Journal reports visitors are being turned away from the Normandy cemeteries because "U.S. war memorials on foreign soil ... answer to the federal government in Washington."
Merchant Marine Academy cancels classes for the week
President Obama was to be briefed Sunday on the status of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. Rear Adm. James Helis posted a note on the academy's website Friday saying classes would resume "no earlier than Oct. 21" because of the government shutdown. The academy had already moved up its fall break because of the budget impasse in Washington. The shutdown's impact is "most severe" because the Merchant Marine Academy's faculty and staff are almost all civilians who have been furloughed - unlike the other service academies.
Social Security recipients await news of increase
Remember that Labor Department inflation report for September, the one that was supposed to come out Wednesday? It holds the key to just how small the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will be for millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees. Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of 1.5% come January, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. The COLA is usually announced in October. Social Security benefits have continued in the shutdown.