UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will air the AFC and NFC Championship games.
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The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown.
ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.
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There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.
Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday.
Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue.
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Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.
"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.
For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.
"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.
With no one to run it, AFN is off the air.
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The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.
Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.
Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.
However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats.
Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.
"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.
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