Lack of Military Pay, No Museums or Passports, ABC Highlights Liberal Warnings

Not paying U.S. military officers, closed museums and a lack of passports were just some of the potential problems highlighted by Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Wednesday. The ABC reporter discussed a possible government shutdown and warned that without a deal, "...Troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks."

Karl didn't note that a Republican plan rejected by Democrats would fund the government for another week and the military through September. Co-host George Stephanopoulos teased the segment by fretting, "Will your tax refund be delayed? Could American troops on the front lines actually not get paid?"

(Karl did reference this distinction on Tuesday, insisting that the $12 billion in spending cuts the Republicans required were a "steep price" to pay for the continuing resolution.)

Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas touted the President's frustration over the budget impasse: "And the President called an impromptu news conference yesterday, lecture the Republicans to start acting like grown-ups. He's very exasperated. It was a quite a different tone."

Stephanopoulos did allow that Republicans are "grumbling" that Obama hasn't "gotten his hands dirty."

Karl then played up other areas of pain where a shutdown would be felt: "And there's the national parks and museums across the country. Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country."

A transcript of the April 6 segment, which aired at 7:03am EDT, follows:


7:00

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, high-stakes showdown. Both sides dig in, just 65 hours before a government shutdown. Will your tax refund be delayed? Could American troops on the front lines actually not get paid?

...
7:01

STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, it is really getting down to the wire in Washington right now. House speaker John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, met last night, to try to reach a deal to prevent a government shutdown. And President Obama is going to decide this morning whether to  call the negotiators back to the White House for another stab at it. But, Elizabeth, prospect of a shutdown is now greater than ever and we're going to really outline what this could mean to everyone at home today.

ELIZABETH VARGAS: And the President called an impromptu news conference yesterday, lecture the Republicans to start acting like grown-ups. He's very exasperated. It was a quite a different tone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they're actually grumbling that he hasn't gotten his hands dirty enough. So, we'll see what happens as that unfolds.
                       
...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, first, let's get right to Washington and that looming government shutdown. It would be the first one in 15 years and Jon Karl joins us with more on what it could look like. Good morning, Jon.

JON KARL: Good morning, George. Well, after a highly-contentious meeting at the White House, Democrats and Republican leaders had what both sides tell me was a more productive meeting here on Capitol Hill late yesterday. So, even as government offices prepare for a shutdown, talks are intensifying up here about avoiding one. This is what it sounds like when the government is about to shut down.

BARACK OBAMA: We don't have time for games.

JOHN BOEHNER: We're not going to allow the Senate, nor the White House, to put us in a box.

HARRY REID: We have bent over backwards, have tried to be fair and reasonable.

OBAMA: We don't have time for trying to score political points or maneuvering or positioning.

BOEHNER: That is not acceptable to our members. And we will not agree to it.

KARL: They're still fighting over how much to cut and where to make the cuts. Government funding doesn't run out until midnight Friday. But if they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait. And there's the national parks and museums across the country. Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks. Many essential services won't see a change. Yes, air traffic controllers will still be in their towers. Border control agents will continue to work. And whether rain or sleet or snow or a government shutdown, the mail will keep coming. Although both sides are sounding slightly more optimistic this morning, even if they strike a deal here today, time is running without because they still have to find a way to get it passed by midnight Friday because that's when the money runs out. George?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org