BOSTON (AP) — Popular historical attractions in Massachusetts such as the Bunker Hill Monument and the birthplace of John F. Kennedy would be among those affected if negotiations between Congress and the White House fail to avoid a government shutdown.
Visitor centers at the sites would be forced to close and all public tours would be suspended, according to Sean Hennessey, a spokesman for the Boston office of the National Park Service.
In addition to the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood and the JFK Birthplace in Brookline, other attractions that would be affected include the Longfellow House in Cambridge; the Lowell National Historical Park; the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy; the Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord; and the Essex National Heritage Area in Salem.
Old Ironsides, a venerable attraction, would not be spared. The USS Constitution, still a commissioned Navy ship with 65 active-duty sailors, would be closed to be public because of the federal government shutdown, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
The visitor center at the Charlestown Navy Yard, run by the park service, also would not operate.
"Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security, are 'excepted' from shutting down," Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III said in a message sent to Defense Department workers.
Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday he was worried not only about tourist attractions closing in the event of a federal government shutdown but also the potential loss of key federal dollars that flow into Massachusetts.
"We're very concerned about the support for students who get federal aid for college, federal support of infrastructure, the continued flow of Medicaid dollars for MassHealth programs," the governor said.
"There are all kinds of ways we partner with the federal government," he said.
Patrick said the state has no money to make up for the potential gaps in federal spending if the White House and Congress fail to reach an agreement to avert a Friday midnight shutdown.