UPDATE: Congress comes to term on budget - no govt. shutdown

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Somewhat comically, the 15 minutes allotted for satellite time expired right after a Gannett news reporter asked Nelson if he intended to get paid if the shutdown occurred, and before the Senator could respond.  Reportedly, members of the military will only get half of their pay if the shutdown occurs, though some members of Congress have said they would refuse to be paid. (Update: A Nelson spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, later e-mailed reporters to say that Nelson would donate his salary to charity - as apparently Kathy Castor will as well).

Earlier in the day, Tampa House Democrat Kathy Castor also laid the blame on the possible shutdown on tea-party elements in the Republican House caucus, saying :

“I am concerned about the impact of the Tea Party-led shutdown on Florida families and our economy. A government shutdown is bad news for our neighbors who rely on veterans’ services, the Social Security Administration, visas, passports, FHA mortgages and more. Those pushing the extremist and rigid Tea Party ideology also need to understand that thousands of federal employees in the Tampa Bay area and across America will be furloughed and unpaid, causing a ripple effect in our economy as they spend less at our local restaurants, stores and other businesses."

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson blasted House Republicans regarding the negotiations to come up with a budget for the rest of the fiscal year this afternoon, calling it "ideological extremism at its worst" several times in a conference call with Florida reporters.

Nelson said that an agreement to cut a total of $78 billion from the President's budget had already been agreed to between the two parties, as well as agreeing on "riders" that House Republicans had attached to the bill regarding Wall Street, the EPA, the health care bill, Guatanamo Bay and vouchers for Washington D.C. vouchers.

But he said it's when when the GOP on abortion matters that has become a bridge too far for Democrats to jump over.

As reported earlier today, those matters include barring federal funding to Planned Parenthood, as well as barring the District of Columbia from using its share of Medicaid funding to cover abortion.

Nelson then recited how a government shutdown could affect the public, saying small businesses wouldn't be able to get Small Business Administration loans, and buyers and sellers of houses would be hurt by a lack of access to financing from the Federal Housing Administration.

The I.R.S. has said that they won't be able to process paper tax returns and send those checks out to those deserving - Nelson says he he written a letter to that agency to reverse that policy.  "This is not a way to run a railroad," Nelson barked, saying that the principal of American democracy is being violated.  And he said he expects the same level of intransigence from Republican when the vote comes to raise the federal debt ceiling, expected to come next month.

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