Weekend Roundup: Republican Government Shutdown Impacts Continue

With the Republican government shutdown now in its 14th day, new headlines show the impact of the Republican government shutdown are continuing:

USA Today Editorial:

“The temporary defunding of numerous federal agencies, which Senate negotiators were working to bring to an end Sunday, is not even saving money. This shutdown is costing the nation at least $160 million a day, according to the IHS Inc. market-research firm.”

“The government's key tool for spotting and tracking the source of food-borne illnesses was shut down for days, while a dangerous outbreak of salmonella from raw chicken spread to 20 states. The outbreak has sickened 317 victims and put more than 40% of them in hospitals — no doubt raising the nation's health care bill.”

“The longer the shutdown goes on, the greater the damage. Government contractors are getting furloughed; they won't get back pay. Home buyers can't get mortgages if the IRS doesn't verify their incomes. Airliners won't remain safe if federal inspections lag. And so on.”

“There's a reason this is the first time in 17 years the government has shut down. After the 1995-96 closure, both parties recognized it's a stupid tactic. Too bad that lesson had to be relearned this time around.”

POLITICO:

“Even before the shutdown, the judiciary shed nearly 2,700 support staff positions over the past two years. Funding for drug testing and electronic monitoring of pre-trial detainees had also been slashed by 20 percent, and federal defenders were under orders to take about 15 days of unpaid furlough in the past year.”

“The cuts have caused delays in criminal and civil cases. Even the posting of judge’s orders has slowed, with many federal court clerk’s offices looking largely empty compared with a few years ago.”

“Sequestration cut $350 million, or about 5 percent, from the judiciary’s budget in the past fiscal year, bringing it to about $6.6 billion annually.”

“For the past two weeks, the federal courts have essentially operated on fumes, using funds from filing fees and so-called no-year appropriations to pay salaries and keep the lights on. Court budget personnel now predict that money will run out on Thursday or Friday of this week. After that, work deemed essential will continue, but there will be no way to pay employees, contractors or utilities until Congress passes legislation including temporary or year-long funding.”

New York Times:

“Some 364 Crow members, more than a third of the tribe’s work force, have been furloughed. A bus service, the only way some Crow are able to travel across their 2.3-million-acre reservation, has been shuttered. A home health care program for sick tribal members has been suspended.”

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which provides a vast sweep of services for more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives, has kept essential programs, like federal police and firefighting services, running. But it has stopped financing tribal governments and the patchwork of programs and grants that form the thin blanket of support for reservations racked by poverty and other ills.”

“Its reservation, which spans parts of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, already has an 80 percent unemployment rate, said Susan Masten, the tribal vice chairwoman. With money suddenly unavailable, the tribe has furloughed 60 of its 310 employees, closed its child-care center and halted emergency financial assistance for low-income and older members.”

“Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said the shutdown could have long-term effects on tribes and tribal members. Financial deals and economic programs have been suspended. Environmental reviews of tribal projects will be delayed. And the impact on the thousands of Bureau of Indian Affairs employees who have been furloughed is compounded because many support poor relatives, he said.”

Instead of causing harm to our economy and national well-being, House Republicans should allow a vote on the Senate’s bill to reopen government.