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Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check; what will happen to SNAP, WIC

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:35 PM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

Update: While the House passed legislation on Thursday to fund government  services, the Senate on Friday failed to vote on a continuing resolution that would keep the government up and running. With no bill to fund the government, non-essential services have been shutdown. 

Below is the original story that explains what will happen now that the government has been shut down.

The fight over a border wall, the fate of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and the wrangling over the funding of an insurance program for children could force a U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass legislation that would keep the government running.

While negotiations on a temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, are ongoing, House Republican leaders said late Wednesday that  they lacked the votes to prevent a shutdown, but that they are pressing members to back Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), on the  temporary spending bill.

“I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, (R-North Carolina), told reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes.”

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What would happen if no bill is passed and the government “shuts down?” Here’s what to expect:

First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

Government agencies would shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide. What Congress will be considering Thursday night and Friday is a continuing resolution, a way to temporarily fund the government.

What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn’t happen this year.

CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:
Air travel
Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.
Federal court
For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.
Food safety
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.
Health
Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.
International travel 
You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.
Loans 
The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home. 
The mail
You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.
Military
Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.
National parks
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
School lunches, SNAP and WIC
School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
Science
The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.
Social Security
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed. 
Veterans services
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.

Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service

  

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Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 6:55 PM

Flash flooding covers Rogers Avenue and Main Streets in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday, May 27, 2018. Flash flooding and water rescues are being reported in Maryland as heavy rain soaks much of the state. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Kenneth K. Lam/AP
Flash flooding covers Rogers Avenue and Main Streets in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday, May 27, 2018. Flash flooding and water rescues are being reported in Maryland as heavy rain soaks much of the state. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)(Kenneth K. Lam/AP)

Heavy rains soaking much of Maryland have led to flash flooding in parts of the state.

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Main Street in Ellicott City, which is just outside of Baltimore, was filled with rushing brown floodwater Sunday afternoon. 

A flash flood emergency was issued for Howard County at 4:40 p.m.

The city was still recovering from a devastating 2016 flood that left two people dead. 

Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a state of emergency and urged residents in flash flood warning areas to seek higher ground.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Customers forced to pay for cheese sue McDonald’s for $5 million, according to lawsuit

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 6:12 PM

File photo.  (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Two McDonald’s customers with a beef about cheese filed a federal lawsuit alleging the restaurant giant is engaged in deceptive and misleading business practices in its sale of the Quarter Pounder with cheese. 

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McDonald’s used to sell four items in the Quarter Pounder category, with or without cheese, with prices ranging from 30 to 90 cents more for cheese than without, then at some point it ended this practice in-store, according to the lawsuit.

"These products cannot be purchased either separately or as part of a value meal, without the customer being overcharged and being compelled to pay for unwanted and undelivered cheese," the lawsuit states, according to The Miami Herald. "McDonald's is being unjustly enriched by these practices, because it receives payment for cheese it does not deliver to its customers."

Cynthia Kissner of Broward County and Leonard Werner of Miami-Dade County filed the class-action lawsuit May 8 asking for $5 million, according to the Herald

The Quarter Pounder was trademarked in 1975 with the following ingredients; a frozen beef patty, sesame seed bun, tablespoon of diced fresh onion, mustard, ketchup and two Heinz pickle slices, according to USA Today.

McDonald’s currently lists the ingredients as; a quarter-pound beef patty, sesame seed bun, pasteurized process American cheese, ketchup, pickle slices and onion. 

The current menu only lists the Quarter Pounder with cheese, however customers have more sandwich options through the restaurant’s app, Andrew Lavin, the attorney who filed the suit, told the Herald

“So McDonald's is offering two specific products: one is a Quarter Pounder and one is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese,” Lavin said. But if you go into the restaurant that option is not available to you."

McDonald’s has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit. 

“We do not believe the claims in this lawsuit have legal merit,” the restaurant told USA Today. "The advertised Quarter Pounder burger comes with cheese. We try to accommodate our customers’ requests by allowing them to customize their orders, such as a Quarter Pounder with no cheese.”

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Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthens bringing gusty winds, heavy rains, storm surge to Gulf region

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM

What are Tropical Storms?

Tropical storm warnings are up across Florida and along parts of the Gulf Coast as Subtropical Storm Alberto lumbers across the Gulf of Mexico ruining Memorial Day holiday plans for thousands of vacationers.

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Update May 27, 2018 5:05 p.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to move north, north west with no change in strength.

The Tropical Storm Warning along the west coast of Florida south of the Anclote River has ended, according to the National Hurricane Center

The Storm Surge Warning for the northern Gulf Coast of west of Navarre, Florida has ended. 

Update May 27, 2018 11 a.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto is strengthening with wind speeds clocked at 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, or NHC. The storm is moving north at 14 mph and it’s located about 130 miles southwest of Tampa.

Isolated tornadoes are possible as Alberto closes in on the region. Forecasters are predicting Alberto will make landfall sometime late Sunday or Monday, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and storm surge to parts of the Gulf Coast.

>> Related: Alberto: PBC saw up to 3 inches of rain last night; expect more Sunday

“Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall with a risk of flooding and flash flooding over western Cuba, the Florida Keys and south Florida today. The risk for heavy rainfall and flooding will then spread over much of the southeast U.S. tonight and Monday,” according to the NHC.

The NHC is warning of “dangerous surf and rip current conditions” along parts of the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday.

 

>> Related: Alberto starts to bring rain to Central Florida as storm moves north

(Previous Story)

A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast including from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River as well as north near the Aucilla River to the Mississippi/Alabama border, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Heavy rainfall is expected as the storm, with sustained winds of 40 mph, continues to move at 13 mph through the Dry Tortugas. 

Five day forecast map. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and the Mississippi/Alabama border, officials said

The latest forecast ends the tropical storm and storm surge watch for parts of Louisiana. 

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Former President George H.W. Bush back in the hospital in Maine with low blood pressure

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:28 PM

Biography of George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital, according to a family spokesman.

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Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care Sunday “after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue,” his spokesman Jim McGrath said on Twitter.

The former president is described as “awake and alert” and will probably remain hospitalized for a few days for observation, McGrath said.


Bush was most recently hospitalized in Houston on April 22, one day after the funeral and burial of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.

During that hospital stay, he was diagnosed with an infection that had spread to his blood, doctors said at the time, but he recovered and eventually went home.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized; doctors 'very pleased' with progress, spokesman says

At the time he said he was looking forward to visiting the family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush was out and about Saturday, marking the Memorial Day holiday, joining a group of veterans at American Legion Post 159 for a pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport.

“Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft,” Bush tweeted.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush: 9 things to know about the 41st president of the United States

Scowcroft was National Security Adviser during the presidencies of both Bush and Gerald Ford.

“This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country,” he said Saturday.

George Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around. 

He was the youngest naval aviator when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.

>> Related: PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

He had six children with Barbara Bush, and in 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to secure the presidency since 1837.

Former United States President George H. W. Bush prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before game five of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas.(Pool/Getty Images)

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