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House to pass bills to reopen national parks, VA

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - House and Senate Democrats say they'll reject a bid by Republicans to reopen portions of the government, including national parks and processing of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    
They say the entire government should be reopened, not just the parts that Republicans like.
    
Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid said Republicans "are trying to cherry-pick some of the few parts of government that they like."
    
The plan by House Republicans would also allow the government of Washington, D.C., to use its own taxpayer funds to provide services like garbage pickup.
    
The closure of national parks is among the most visible effects of the partial government shutdown. The GOP plan would reopen doors and visitors centers at iconic parks like Yosemite 

President Barack Obama says House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an "ideological crusade" against his health care law.

Obama spoke in the Rose Garden on the first day of the government shutdown. He says the longer the shutdown continues, the worse the impact will be.

The president says Republicans should not be able to hold the entire economy "hostage." He is urging them to reopen the government quickly and allow furloughed federal employees to go back to work.

President Barack Obama is telling federal workers he hopes Washington quickly resolves the government shutdown that has forced many out the door.

In a letter emailed to federal employees, Obama says the shutdown was "completely preventable." And he calls on the House of Representatives to pass a law reopening the government and giving workers back pay.

The president also laments that government employees have become "punching bags" in Washington's partisan fiscal fights. About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job because Congress did not pass a bill to keep the government funded ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Obama says that if the shutdown continues, it will make it more difficult to recruit talented people for government jobs.

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