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By Kailani Koenig and Ali Vitali

WOODBRIDGE, Virginia — Darryl Floyd was already feeling worried before the government shutdown started.

His wife, Cynthia, is battling cancer and her treatment was happening out of state, in Arkansas. The couple was already planning for increased costs for her medical care — including a second, temporary apartment in Little Rock while she was receiving treatment. That was before Congress and the White House brought the country into a partial government shutdown, and Darryl was furloughed.

“From the beginning of shutdown to now as far as bills now, I think about well, I’m gonna have to get a loan, consolidate bills, it just kind of changes the whole aspect of thought process,” he told NBC News Thursday night at his dining room table.

And that’s just the financial toll.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” he admitted. “It’s stressful sometimes, your blood pressure, your stress, you want the best. And then I worry about my wife, making sure she’s healthy, trying to sacrifice, so it’s just hard on me, [and] her. Ya know, we kinda worry about the bills … if she’s gonna be able to buy medicine or whatever it may be. Will we be able to eat? So, it’s kind of stressful.”

With Darryl’s federal income off the table — he works for the U.S. International Trade Commission as a human resources specialist — Cynthia, a Certified Public Accountant, has been picking up some more work herself.

The day after they talked with NBC, they began the trip to Arkansas where Cynthia will undergo a stem cell transplant. They left Virginia “just hoping that the shutdown ends,” Darryl said. But with the president warning that this could go on for months — or longer — they’re not sure what to expect.

Floyd was one of thousands of people who attended a union-organized rally in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Even with an estimated 80 percent of the federal workforce living outside of the greater D.C. region, the shutdown has ushered in a slew of tough consequences for people across this area.

Bonnie McEwan, an employee at the SEC, told NBC on Thursday that her concerns are twofold: being able to make ends meet and the toll the shutdown is taking on the work she and her colleagues are responsible for. McEwan has still be going to work, but she hasn’t been getting paid.

“I can’t do a lot actually because nobody is there,” she said. Her bills are piling up and her concerns are starting to keep her up at night.

“I will be able to work it out this time but I don’t know how long I can go on like this,” she added. “Eventually I will have to take money out of my 401K apparently to make mortgage payments. You know, my normal monthly payments if it goes on, which if you listen to the news, it sounds like there’s no end in sight. It’s really scary. It’s stressful. It’s causing me a lot of stress. I have a hard time even sleeping thinking about it. I’m dreaming about it now, going into the office and being told, ‘We don’t need you. Go home.’”

Denise Price, a furloughed worker at the Department of the Treasury who also attended the Thursday rally, says she’s trying to watch her spending as close as she can and prioritize where her money goes.

“I’m trying to bleed out whatever little bit of funds that I have,” she said. “It’s very tough. It really is. I have to pick between what bills I can pay and what bills I have to put aside and try to figure out how to pay.”

She says the situation has been tough on her family, and while her daughter has offered to contribute part of her paycheck, Price would like to avoid that. “I want to be able to support my family the way I’m supposed to support them,” she said.

“I want to go back to work,” she continued. “I want the powers that be to come together, make a decision. Please open the government so that we can get back to work. We need to provide services to the American people. I enjoy my work, my other co-workers enjoy their work. Please, get it together, put all those judgements aside, and come together. Come to an agreement and open the government.”

About 900 miles south of the nation’s capital at the Kennedy Space Center, workers across the area have been told not to report in to their jobs.

Steve Ching, a contractor with NASA who works as an industrial technician, says the shutdown “also affects scientists, engineers, all the different support staff down at the Kennedy Space Center. They have literally closed the gates and no one is working.”

While the financial impact on some of the people there has been profound, he said the shutdown is grinding down the operations his team is responsible for every day.

“Of our crew of ten on the high voltage, we only have two that are currently there sporadically for what they refer to as ‘necessity work,’ but other than that everybody is home without a paycheck,” he said.

“It not only affects me but also all the other workers down there,” he added. “I mean, our mortgages and rent, our utilities, our car payments, everything that we have for necessities in life continue on and we don’t have any income.”

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Gun rights groups try last-ditch move to stop Trump ban on rapid-fire bump stocks



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By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — Owners of bump stocks — attachments that allow rifles to be fired rapidly — are hoping a federal appeals court will relieve them of the legal duty to destroy the devices by Monday.

The Trump administration ordered a ban on bump stocks after they figured prominently in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 58 people and wounded 500 others. A police investigation revealed that Stephen Paddock, who carried out the massacre, had 22 semi-automatic rifles with him in his hotel room overlooking an outdoor concert that he attacked, and 14 of the weapons were equipped with bump stocks.

Under a federal rule that took effect in December, owners must destroy their bump stocks, which are usually made of plastic, by Monday or risk prosecution for a felony. The rule suggests smashing them with a hammer, cutting them apart with a saw, or turning them over to a local ATF office. It applies to individual owners, dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

Federal authorities estimate that half a million of them have been sold in the U.S.

The devices are attached to a rifle in place of the normal stock, the end piece that sit next to a user’s shoulder. Once in place, the bump stock absorbs the weapon’s recoil and alters the relationship between the trigger finger and the weapon.

Without a bump stock, the rifle remains stationary, and the trigger finger must be moved to fire each round. With a bump stock, after the trigger is pulled once, the recoil begins moving the trigger against the finger, which remains stationary, resulting in rapid firing like a fully automatic rifle.

For that reason, the Trump administration concluded that bump stocks violate a federal law that bans machineguns, defined as weapons that automatically fire more than one shot “with a single function of the trigger.”

Gun rights groups sued, arguing that bump stocks are intended to be used with AR-15 style rifles which are mechanically incapable of firing more than once with a single function of the trigger, because it must be released and moved again to allow the weapon to fire. They say the words of the statute — single function of the trigger — refer to the movement of the trigger itself, not whether the trigger is pulled by a finger or actuated by a bump stock.

“The government is just wrong to focus to focus on the behavior of the person rather than the function of the trigger,” said Erik Jaffee, representing the gun owners. “Function of the trigger means the trigger, not the shooter.”

The Justice Department told the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Friday that the courts have interpreted the phrase “single function of the trigger” to mean “single pull of the trigger.” A bump stock, government lawyers argued, allows a rifle to fire automatically once the trigger is pulled once, and that qualifies it as a machinegun.

An ATF spokeswoman said some owners have already turned in their bump stocks. But gun owner groups said others were waiting to see whether the appeals court agrees to put the rule on hold.

The court did not indicate when it might rule.

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‘I will TELEPATHICALLY stop you!’ Uri Geller sends Theresa May BIZARRE Brexit warning



PARANORMAL spoon bender Uri Geller has written a bizarre open letter to Theresa May, telling the Prime Minister he “loves” her but “will stop you telepathically” from carrying out Brexit.

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Rep. Steve King slammed as ‘white supremacist’ for remarks about Katrina victims



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/ Source: Associated Press

By Dartunorro Clark

WASHINGTON — GOP Rep. Steve King is under fire after he told constituents at a town hall that victims of Hurricane Katrina pleaded for help from the government in contrast to residents of his home state of Iowa who “take care of each other.”

“Here’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?’ When FEMA responds to problems in Iowa, they’re just always gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other,” the Iowa lawmaker told a town hall meeting in Charter Oak, Iowa, on Thursday.

King said he visited New Orleans, which is a majority black city, multiple times after the deadly 2005 storm. More than 1,800 people, mostly black, died from the disaster; however, government officials have noted that the true death toll could be much higher.

Recent spring flooding in the Midwest has devastated towns and rural communities across the region and has been blamed for three deaths.

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., whose district includes New Orleans, said in a tweet on Thursday that the remarks are more evidence that King is a “white supremacist.”

“My heart goes out to all Iowans. Though it unsettles me that @SteveKingIA would dare compare them to the countless victims of Katrina, many of whom lost their lives. When people show you who they are, believe them. Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it,” Richmond said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, also blasted King in a tweet on Thursday, calling his comments “disgusting and disheartening.”

“These comments are disgusting and disheartening. When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down,” he said.

King was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against a bill to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 because he said the $51.8 billion aid package was too expensive. He called it a “good” and “principled” vote, according to HuffPost.

King’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

King has been under fire from his party for remarks about race. In January, GOP voted unanimously to remove King from all committees amid the uproar over his comments about white nationalism. The move came after he questioned why “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” was offensive in an interview with The New York Times.

“How did that language become offensive?” he asked. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the time that King’s language is “reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society.”

King later backtracked in a statement at the time, saying, “I reject white nationalism. I reject white supremacy. It’s not part of any of my ideology. I reject anyone who carries that ideology.”`

Associated Press contributed.

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