A Patriot’s Thoughts on the Government Shutdown

Diana Levy

There are different parts of the federal government that need to be funded each year in order
to operate. However, if Congress can’t decide on how to fund these parts, the government
agencies have to close down.
Each year, the House and Senate are supposed to agree on 12 appropriations bills to fund
these federal agencies and set spending priorities. During a government shutdown, federal
workers are separated into two categories: essential and non-essential. These “non-essential”
workers will be furloughed throughout the course of the shutdown. When an employee is
furloughed, they are temporarily unpaid and do not work until the government fully re-opens.
It is up to Congress to decide if the employees will receive back pay [pay owed for work
done earlier].  The members of Congress, though, will still get paid during the shutdown. In fact,
to be fair, many of them have decided to donate part or all of their salary to charities.
So, how can the government shutdown end?  Congress needs to pass a bill to fund the
government, and then the White House would need to sign it.
There are many different types of agencies that have been closed due to the label of
“non-essential” parts of the federal government. You may not see the difference in your everyday
life, but the effects of the shutdown hit parts of the federal government that work to make sure
your daily lives run smoothly.
Yes.  College campuses are affected by the shutdown.  The U.S Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights handles investigations of universities suspected of not taking proper
measures with sexual violence cases.  As of now, these investigations have been put on hold.
Just as the flu season begins, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will discontinue
administering flu shots.
The effects continue to trickle down:  Millions of veterans may not receive benefits if the
shutdown continues longer than two weeks.  The Food and Drug Administration will be unable
to continue most of its routine food-safety operations.
Although the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will not be affected immediately
– and some states may even be able to use additional funds to keep the program running – the
Department of Agriculture may eventually be unable to support the program.
The tourism industry also becomes victim to the government shutdown.  The National Park
Service will have to close national parks, museums and tourist sites.
Furthermore, there are other effects of the shutdown that are not necessarily related to a
particular program or department but are equally important.  For example, businesses will not
have the ability to access programs such as E-Verify to confirm the immigration statuses of
potential hires.
No.  We may not notice any significant changes in the beginning, but as the shutdown
continues and multiple federal departments are impacted, its effects will slowly trickle down to
each one of us on a personal level.