On Saturday, two Louisiana Walmart stores had their grocery shelves cleaned out by food-stamp recipients whose benefit cards briefly had their spending limits removed. Walmart may end up footing most of the bill because it chose not to implement emergency procedures that would have stopped all purchases at $50.
The government shutdown that began Monday night and is now in its fourth full day means that lots of official data collection, analysis and reporting that happens each month has now stopped. This includes the monthly jobs reports issued by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As of 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, the federal government closed down. Congressional leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to reach an agreement on a budget or a temporary fix, known as a continuing resolution, before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.
With Congress unable to agree on a budget or even a short-term emergency bill, it's increasingly likely that the federal government will suffer its first shutdown in 17 years. Leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate will trade proposals on Monday, but neither side is optimistic that they will reach an agreement.
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