Navy base closes some offices amid shutdown

A sign on the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence indicates it is closed during the government shutdown.

About 800 civilian employees at Naval Station Newport were furloughed Tuesday and some classes were suspended at the Naval War College because of the federal government shutdown.

The Navy base was the worst hit of the federal operations in Rhode Island. The government shut down after Congress failed to pass a bill to keep it running ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year. The shutdown forced about 800,000 federal workers off the job nationwide.

The base has 50 commands, and base spokeswoman Lisa Rama said the shutdown affects civilian employees at all except its largest command, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Among the services shutting down Tuesday was the commissary, which was set to close at 7 p.m. and was trying to get rid of perishables before then. Rama, who was being furloughed herself, said people who need an ID may have to wait until after the shutdown is over to get one.

"There's nobody to issue the ID cards," she said.

Other closures included the Naval War College museum.

At the Naval War College, civilian teachers were furloughed and some classes were suspended, including electives, Commander Carla McCarthy said.

Elsewhere in Rhode Island, several government services were unaffected, including the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which was fully operational because it is funded through Sept. 30, 2014.

But 300 civilian employees of the National Guard were furloughed, and the state's five national wildlife refuges were closed, as was Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence.

Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee called for an end to the shutdown, saying the state and nation can't afford it.

"Congress needs to work together and develop a viable solution," he said in a written statement.

The U.S. District Court in Providence was also open Tuesday, although it warned that if the shutdown extended for long, the court's funding would run out. Court administrators said the court would remain open for business as usual for 10 business days and they would reassess the circumstances if the shutdown drags on.