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NASA, USGS among agencies affected by shutdown

Several government operations, including some local branches, ground to a halt at midnight Monday after Congress failed to pass a budget in the culmination of a bitter battle over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The first government shutdown in 17 years will not close the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Postal Service, but NASA and the Menlo Park office of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have been affected by the shutdown.

The USGS stated in a contingency plan that the majority of its operations would be shut down in the event of a lapse in appropriations, with the exception of those functions to protect life and property. USGS media relations officers' phone messages stated that they were "prohibited from answering calls and emails" due to the lapse in federal funding.

Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center has also been affected by the shutdown. Visitors cannot even access NASA's website. Those attempting to are greeted with the message: "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret this inconvenience."

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will remain open for the time being but only because it's being supported by a reserve of carryover funds from 2013, said SLAC spokesman Andy Freeberg. Freeberg said there's no word on how long those funds will hold out.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo said her offices in Palo Alto and Washington, D.C., will remain open.

"My consistent vote throughout this ordeal has been to keep the government functioning," she said in a statement. "A shutdown costs taxpayers approximately $150 million a day and has many consequences. The people of our country deserve far better than the spectacle of Congress lurching from one manufactured fiscal crisis to another."

Eshoo also provided a brief primer on the effects of the government shutdown.

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