A ghost town

by Sherry Hamilton and Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Oct 16, 2013 - 12:53 PM

Photo: Shuttle buses lined up at the back of the U.S. Capitol last Thursday, waiting to transport Democratic senators to the White House for a meeting with President Obama to discuss the budget crisis. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Shuttle buses lined up at the back of the U.S. Capitol last Thursday, waiting to transport Democratic senators to the White House for a meeting with President Obama to discuss the budget crisis. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Photo: Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross), at left, sitting in his Congressional office last Thursday afternoon, blamed most of the current situation on the government not staying in session through August to work out a deal. At center, Sen. Mark Warner shows his frustration about the ongoing shutdown and potential debt crisis as he describes this graphic that depicts dramatically increasing yields on short-term Treasury Bills that he said is just one of the real costs taxpayers face if the U.S. government defaults. Sen. Tim Kaine, right, signs a piece of a motorcycle that will be featured at fundraising events over the next year for the Wounded Warrior Project, organized by actor and advocate Gary Sinise. The motorcycle, signed by every member of the U.S. Senate, will eventually be auctioned off. Photos by Quinton Sheppard and Sherry Hamilton

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross), at left, sitting in his Congressional office last Thursday afternoon, blamed most of the current situation on the government not staying in session through August to work out a deal. At center, Sen. Mark Warner shows his frustration about the ongoing shutdown and potential debt crisis as he describes this graphic that depicts dramatically increasing yields on short-term Treasury Bills that he said is just one of the real costs taxpayers face if the U.S. government defaults. Sen. Tim Kaine, right, signs a piece of a motorcycle that will be featured at fundraising events over the next year for the Wounded Warrior Project, organized by actor and advocate Gary Sinise. The motorcycle, signed by every member of the U.S. Senate, will eventually be auctioned off. Photos by Quinton Sheppard and Sherry Hamilton

The Nation’s Capital looked like a ghost town last week, with national museums, many lawmakers’ offices, and the Capitol building closed. At Union Station, a hub for visitors entering and departing Washington, D.C., the restaurants and stores were sparsely populated, and a waiter at Uno’s Chicago Grill said business was down 30 to 40 percent.

On the lawn outside the Capitol, federal employees held a rally urging Congress to put them back to work.

One of those workers, Lisa Corathers of Haymarket, Va., said she appreciated the efforts of Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to get a clean continuing resolution (CR), praising them for their pragmatism and their support of furloughed federal employees.

Amidst it all, the Virginia senators and the representative for Virginia’s 1st District, Congressman Rob Wittman, were hard at work trying to negotiate a deal not only to keep the United States from defaulting on its debt, but also to ensure that government workers get back to work as soon as possible.

"What a crazy day to be here," said Warner, who was about to rush out last Thursday afternoon to meet the bus carrying Democratic senators from the Capitol to the White House for a meeting with President Obama.

"This is pretty awful," he said. "I’ve never seen anything as stupid as what we’re putting the country through."