Wednesday was day two of the partial federal government shutdown. National parks are closed, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are without pay and Congress has yet to reach a compromise. It's a situation the country has faced before, but with a few important differences. Sarah Blazonis has more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The last partial shutdown of the federal government happened in late 1995 and early 1996. It was basically a conflict between then-President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican members of Congress about spending levels.
There are a few similarities between this situation and that one, but one political science professor we spoke with says the road to a resolution may be more complicated.
It looked like business as usual from outside the Hanley Federal Building Wednesday. Inside, offices were open. But some left disappointed, with only limited services being offered at sites like the Social Security Administration. Still, others say they have yet to feel any impact.
"Not immediately, no. Not directly, but I am concerned about it," said Syracuse resident Eric Williams.
"Just that term kind of puts a little bit of fear over you, you know, 'government shutdown.' So when I called, the lady was nice enough to say, 'No, our government isn't shut down. I wish they would stop using that term,'" said Juan E. Taylor II, a Syracuse resident.
SU political science professor Grant Reeher says it's similar to what was seen during the 90s shutdown. But this time, a few things are different behind the scenes. For one, the main players in 1995 and 1996 were basically limited to President Clinton and House Speaker Gingrich.
Reeher said, "That's where the problem was and that's where the negotiation was. Here, you have a different situation. John Boehner would've cut a deal by now. It's a section of his caucus, the most conservative, the Tea Party folks in part, who are really driving this."
And this shutdown is happening during a time when the country is already dealing with the effects of sequestration and with a deadline for Congress to take action on the nation's debt limit looming.
Reeher said, "If the debt limit threshold gets passed, then you're starting to have an immediate impact likely on the markets, on interest rates among other things and that is something that is going to have a much broader effect that people are going to see and feel immediately."
One way history may end up repeating itself is the political outcome of the shutdown. Clinton's popularity rose once the shutdown ended in 1996, while Republicans didn't fare so well.
"It's going to help the Democrats, at least through no other means than by hurting the Republicans and particularly hurting the most conservative wing of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and by extension John Boehner," Reeher said.
And Reeher says while this is the current sentiment among many in the political world now, that could change. For instance, if the economy sees a big hit as a result of a prolonged shutdown, President Obama's popularity could end up taking a big hit.
The previous shutdown lasted 21 days. The feeling now seems to be this one won't be as long, again, because Congress does have that debt limit deadline coming up October 17th. But, of course, this is an unpredictable situation.