As Democrats and Republicans in Washington squabble over details of a proposed federal budget, hundreds of thousands of federal employees wonder whether they will have work on Monday.
Andrea Lewis of Baltimore works for the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, but was in Towson on Friday, visiting for a meeting. She will be one of the workers furloughed if no deal is reached by the end of the day.
"I have no idea," she said when asked if the thinks there will be a shutdown. "You just have to go along with it."
If the federal government does shut down, generally, only functions related to protecting life and property will stay open. That means many non-essential functions, from readying the space shuttle Endeavor to processing Social Security, either slow down or cease entirely. (Read this Wall Street Journal blog post for a primer on what to expect.)
Even functions like the Smithsonian Insitution and the National Park Service, which together attract millions of tourists annually, will also be shut down.
"Everything will be closed, basically," Lewis said. "There's people coming from California, Wyoming, all over the country, so it's unfortunate for them."
Hampton National Historic Site in Towson is one of 16 national parks in Maryland, and the only one in Baltimore County. The 18th-century mansion on the former slave plantation was built by the Ridgely family, and generations of the family lived in the house until midway through the 20th century.
Phil Sheridan, a National Park Service spokesman, said the property "will be secured" and some park police will be stationed at sites like Hampton, but none of the buildings will be open. A program scheduled for Sunday to teach about the Baltimore County Horse Guards would be canceled.
The park, however, is not fenced in. A neighbor, who declined to give her name, said she would continue to take walks on the property even if the government is shut down. Park officials are discouraging that for safety reasons.
"We want to make sure that the sites are protected and we also want to make sure no one gets hurt," Sheridan said. "It's conceivable that in some areas people would be asked to leave."