By Daniel Trotta
Oct 2 (Reuters) - Science was put on hold, normally bustlingstores went quiet and families depending on government aidfeared losing their baby food as a government shutdown rippledacross the country.
The budget impasse in Washington shut all but essential U.S.government services for the second straight day on Wednesday,while neither political party appeared willing to budge.
Republicans want to tie continued government funding tomeasures that would undercut Obama's signature healthcare law,while Obama and his Democrats say that is a non-starter.
Here are some snapshops of people affected across the UnitedStates.
SEARCH FOR MISSING HIKER DEFIES SHUTDOWN
Some work was just too important to halt for Ted Stout, 50, even though he was furloughed Tuesday as park chief ofinterpretation and education at Craters of the Moon NationalMonument and Preserve in central Idaho. Wednesday marked hiseighth day of searching for a missing hiker.
Stout said he and several other laid-off workers would keepcombing the vast lava fields for 63-year-old Jo Elliot-Blakesleeon their own time, without pay and despite worsening weather.
"It's pretty much consuming our lives. We can't let her downnow. This needs to continue," said Stout, who has worked for 10years at a National Park Service site that spans 750,000 acres(300,000 hectares) of volcanic rifts, cinder cones andunderground tunnels carved by ancient lava flows.
At its height, the hunt for Elliot-Blakeslee and a companionfound dead last week from exposure drew helicopters and up to100 searchers but those efforts have been scaled back partlybecause of the government shutdown, Stout said.
"We're just in a real unusual situation," Stout said. "Allwe can do is keep looking."
LIVING ON THE EDGE
Jocelyn Gonzalez, 22, is a stay-at home mother in LosAngeles who relies on assistance for her two young kids fromWomen, Infants and Children (WIC), a food voucher program theU.S. Department of Agriculture says it may not be able to fundif the shutdown lasts into late October.
Gonzalez's husband, Alexis, works as a waiter and makes lessthan $1,000 a month, she said. Because of a lack of income, herfamily around the time the birth of her oldest child, Hazel, hadto move from the working class Lincoln Heights neighborhood ofLos Angeles to a cheaper, higher-crime area south of downtown.
They started receiving WIC when Hazel was born, and with aninfant daughter, Delilah, now part of their family they rely onthe program's coupons to get free milk, baby food, formula,fruits and vegetables, she said.
"There's been times where we don't have a lot of money but Ihave my coupons right there," Gonzalez said.
If the WIC program runs out, Gonzalez said her options willbe limited.
"We can't afford daycare so I don't know what I would do,"she said. "I can't even imagine, because it helps us out a lot."
FAST FOOD SOLUTION
Myrna Pascual, 61, an analyst with the U.S. Department ofHousing and Urban Development in San Diego, fears a U.S.government shutdown could force her to borrow against her home,increase her credit card use and possibly look for work at fastfood restaurants.
"I would do that just to get by, because I'm not saved up,"said Pascual.
If Pascual remains out of a job until next week, she saidshe plans to file for unemployment benefits, but cannot be sureshe will be eligible.
Her husband is retired and has limited resources on a fixedincome. Both of her college student daughters still live athome.
She recently rented a room in her home to a boarder andstarted selling some of her possessions on eBay.
"My options are very limited," she said. "I'm just hopingfor the best."
HOLD THE DONUTS
The Dunkin' Donuts near three of Chicago's federal officebuildings usually has a line out the door as court clerks,Environmental Protection Agency lawyers and Internal RevenueService agents feed their sugar habits.
On Wednesday, business was so scarce one customer had threeattendants, each of them offering "Can I help you?" in chorus.This makes store manager Vanessa Banderas nervous about herworkers' jobs, and her own.
"The way it was today, it was like 'Oh my God, where iseverybody? Where's the business?'" said Banderas, 30, ofChicago, a single mother with four school-age children.
If business remains this slow, she will have to temporarilylay off about half of the store's 18 workers, she said.
"I just thought Obama's doing the right thing because hewants health care for everyone and then look what's going on,"Banderas said.
SCIENCE SHUT DOWN
National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Fritz helpedbuild the computer model that predicted flooding from HurricaneSandy that hammered New York and New Jersey a year ago. Now theroughly 65 people in her office have been sent home without pay.
"It's like getting the wind knocked out of you," said Fritz,38 and a union steward, who faces $130,000 in student loans forher masters degrees in oceanography and meteorology.
The family's main breadwinner, she pays $500 to $600 a monthon the loans, plus rent and health insurance.
Now, all spending is on hold.
"I need a new laptop," Fritz said. "That's not happening."
PAYCHECK 'HELD HOSTAGE'
In a time of crisis, Karen Buondonna looks for levity. Shejokes that she is well-prepared for the furlough because it isher third in just over two years, thanks to a stop-gap fundingextension and sequestration.
A researcher for the Federal Aviation Authority's droneprogram in New Jersey, Buondonna considered riding out thegovernment shutdown at the beach in Atlantic City. But, facedwith the prospect of losing a paycheck, she has spent her daysat home, hoping to be called back to work.
"My paycheck is being held hostage because of something I amnot a part of," said Buondonna, 46, the main bread winner in herfamily, which includes her 6-year-old daughter and 9-year-oldson. "It's very disruptive and very stressful. I have bills topay just like everyone else."
Buondonna, speaking as a representative of her union, andnot as an employee of the FAA, said she has already canceled aplanned kitchen renovation and may have to use her savings tomake her next mortgage payment.
But what she was most distressed about was being preventedform doing her job.
"It's not just a job to me," she said. "I believe in themission of my agency. I am a dedicated government worker."
Among the federal parks closed by the shutdown is Florida'sEverglades National Park, where Rich Smith, 33, has been fishingsince he was a boy and today makes his living as a guide.
Park Rangers have told fishing guides to stay out of thepark during the shutdown, threatening them with big fines ifthey disobey, he said.
"Unfortunately there isn't anything else for me. This is my11th year of guiding full time, you don't just pick up and dosomething else. In the Florida Keys we're 100 per cent abouttourism," Smith said.
Smith fishes more than 200 days a year in the park, chargingcustomers $400 to $600 for four to eight hours of fishing. Amonth-long shutdown could cost him as much as $10,000.
Smith had a trip booked for Thursday, paid for months ago bya repeat customer. Now he may have to cancel.
"There are other areas he can fish," Smith said, "but theEverglades is one of the best destinations on planet earth."
RIPPLE EFFECT 'HURTS EVERYONE'
Victims of discrimination will just have to wait.
Rebecca Eaton and her colleagues at the Seattle branch ofU.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigate claimsof employment discrimination in violation of federal law inWashington state, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska.
They arrived at work on Tuesday to a memo instructing themto freeze all legal cases and close the office.
"The ripple effect of this one thing is hurting everybody,"said Eaton, 39, a legal assistant, who has so far constrictedher spending and cancelled an annual vacation.
She worries unemployment benefits could be delayed becausefederal funding that covers processing costs in the Washingtonstate office have been halted. The state unemployment officesaid it was covering this shortage by dipping into its ownlimited funds, which could run out in a few weeks.
- Budget, Tax & Economy
- Politics & Government
- government shutdown