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2013 government shutdown

USF School of Theatre & Dance (left) / WUSF Public Meida (right)

The third time will hopefully be the charm for a pair of University of South Florida inventors who are scheduled to speak in Washington, DC, this weekend.

USF graduate Alexei Novitzky and School of Theatre and Dance academic advisor Merry Lynn Morris had their appearances at two previously scheduled Smithsonian Institution conferences on innovation canceled -  the first due to the federal government sequestration, the second because of the government shutdown.

Now, barring bad weather, the pair will be among the speakers at “Innovation: Brainstorms, Big Ideas and the Creative Future,” a day-long program Sunday in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

While research spending at public and private universities across the country remained relatively stagnant from the previous year due to economic uncertainty, grants and contracts at the University of South Florida grew to a record level.

Wounded Warriors Project

The Florida-based Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) plans to open its coffers should the congressional stalemate continue and VA payments cannot  be made to veterans with disabilities and families of fallen service members.

The non-profit organization - which has assisted some 40,000 injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war - has committed $20 million to help its alumni according to the WWP website.

As the federal government shutdown drags on, a potentially pivotal group of House Republicans has entered the spotlight: the roughly 20 or so members who have publicly signaled their support for a so-called clean spending bill that would provide the funding necessary to reopen the government without strings attached.

GOP Governors Chart Different Paths On Shutdown

Oct 8, 2013

The federal government shutdown has given governors across the country an opportunity to take part in one of their favorite pastimes: scolding Washington.

Among Republicans, though, there appears to be some disagreement over exactly who's to blame for the latest budget impasse.

One camp of GOP governors — often those in blue states or with national ambitions (if not both) — has largely chastised all parties involved. They're eager to distance themselves from Washington and portray themselves as results-oriented "outsiders."

National Parks Service

Tuesday morning, 80 World War II veterans from West Central Florida plan to exercise their “First Amendment rights.”

Their long-planned Honor Flight visit to the Washington D.C. war memorials was not canceled despite the government shutdown closing all monuments to the public.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

In a Department of Defense statement released Saturday, Secretary Chuck Hagel orders most of the 400,000 furloughed civilian workers to return to work beginning next week.

Hagel has directed military departments to review furloughed workers who contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members. The Pay our Military Act signed into law this week by President Obama, Hagels said, gives him the authority to bring back most of the furloughed civilians.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The ongoing inertia in Washington, D.C., is keeping a pair of University of South Florida inventors from appearing at a Smithsonian Institution event--and it isn't the first time it's happened to them.

Shutdown? Not For Political Fundraising

Oct 4, 2013

(Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET with RNC numbers)

The government shutdown might be bad for federal employees, but it's turning out to be a boon for political fundraising.

Party committees and outside groups on both sides of the aisle have latched on to the latest Washington budget crisis, using the moment to rile their bases and fill their coffers for the 2014 campaign.

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is seeking businesses, banks and other organizations willing to extend assistance, freebies and discounts to furloughed defense workers.

So far, the chamber's Military Council has a list of a dozen financial institutions, museums, stores and restaurants with discounts or deals.

That includes the offer of a "signature loan" to furloughed federal workers by one credit union and a bank willing to give their furloughed clients one-month payment extensions.

Of all the government agencies, NASA is among the hardest hit by the government shutdown. As of Oct. 1, nearly all of its employees have been told to pack up and head home.

If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.

The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.

Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes

World War II veterans on an Honor Flight from Mississippi pushed their way through barricades to visit Washington, D.C. memorials Tuesday, the first day of the federal government shutdown, according to the Stars and Stripes.

Department of Veterans Affairs

There will be little or no impact at least on the largest part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the health care administration which runs VA clinics and hospitals.

The health care administration is on a two-year budget cycle, so it already has advanced appropriates for 2014 fiscal year according to Karen Collins, public affairs officer for James A. Haley Veterans Hospitals and Clinics.

"So, this means that a majority of our employees will continue to provide health care services to our veterans and active-duty service members here at James A. Haley," Collins said.