Countdown to Shutdown

April 8, 2011 Updated Apr 8, 2011 at 11:19 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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April 8, 2011 Updated Apr 8, 2011 at 11:19 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Thousands of Western New Yorkers could be furloughed by the region's largest employer, the federal government, at Midnight tonight.

Need a passport? The State Department will not process your application during a shutdown.

Want to visit the region's only national park? The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo will be closed until further notice if the government shuts down.

"Because we're a unit of the national parks service and this is a federal location, federal property we will have to close our doors to visitors," said the executive director of the site, Molly Quackenbush.

Social Security benefits will be provided, but new claims will likely not be processed. The VA Hospital in Buffalo will still provide services. But if you are a tax filer who does things the old fashioned way, on paper, your tax return will not be processed.

At the U.S. Attorney's Office, William Hochul is preparing to furlough more than half of his staff.

Criminal cases will still be prosecuted, "But when it comes to civil litigation, most of that will be curtailed," Hochul said.

Hochul said more than half of his staff will be furloughed.

West Seneca mother Michelle Plowman is trying to figure out how to make ends meet and feed to young children if her husband Jim loses his paycheck.

Sgt. Maj. James Plowman is on the front lines in Afghanistan. Members of the military will continue to be paid during the shutdown, but payroll will not be processed until the shutdown is over.

"Patriotism is a two-way street," Michelle Plowman said. "These soldiers aren't going to go over there, fight fight fight and not be able to feed their family."

Negotiations continue in Washington. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) said he is "cautiously optimistic" a deal will be reached to avoid a shutdown.

Watch Eyewitness News at 11:00 for the latest on the possible federal government shutdown.