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A Band-Aid on a Bullet Wound: The Widespread Effects and Implications of the Government Shutdown

Just recently, the American people suffered the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history. President Barack Obama and members of Congress took sixteen days to negotiate consensus on a bill that impacted the lives of thousands of furloughed workers, shut down national parks and government buildings, before finally passing a continuing resolution on the federal budget that satisfied both political parties.

While we were closing out Hispanic Heritage Month, September, the government was tasked with coming up with a federal budget . . . something they do every year. This federal budget is explicit in outlining priority spending as well as twelve appropriations to fund federal agencies. All of this, of course, is to be agreed upon by the House and the Senate. Easy enough, right?

In failing to do so, the U.S. government shutdown commenced and greatly effected the economy, U.S. citizens, DC students, and many others. Who was hit by this the hardest, you wonder. What resources and services stopped? Now that it’s over. . . what’s the end result?

The government shutdown greatly impacted both the economy and the American peoples’ households. Standard & Poor’s, a financial rating corporation, estimates that the government shutdown will cost the economy $24 billion. A small break down of this economic hit:

- About $3.1B in lost government services, according to research conducted by IHS.

    – $152M per day in lost travel spending according to the U.S. Travel Association.

    – $76M per day because of National Parks being shut down, according to the NPS.

    – $217M per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Second, there were approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers during the time of the shutdown. Imagine that! “We can’t pay you, but can you still perform your duties for the people?” This shutdown left hundreds of thousands of people and their families without an income. The Washington Post compiled a list of each government agency that was affected by the shutdown.

Lastly, students not just in DC, but also nationally were limited in research outlets because of government websites shutting down and DC public libraries closing as well. Any museum visits, national park educational field trips, etc. were all halted due to the shutdown.

Take a selfless step back, students, and realize some of the other discontinued services that could’ve affected all of DC and the entire nation:

  • Health Services: The National Health Institute stopped accepting patients for clinical research. If you had cancer and you wanted more treatment and understanding of the cancer, you had to wait until the shutdown was over.

  • Immigration: Dept. of Homeland Security discontinued the E-verify program during the shutdown, which disabled employers from checking on legal immigration status of prospective employees.

  • National Parks: The National Park Service closed 400 different national parks and museums in response to the government shutdown.

Here is a full list of all government agencies and services affected by the government shutdown.

Now that the government has re-opened, all is well . . . right? Wrong.

It is true that Congress voted to pass a bill that would raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government: Senate passed measure 81 votes to 18 and House passed measure 285 votes to 144. What President Obama is signing, however, is a temporary fix to the ‘almost-fiscal-crisis.’ The bill sent to the President’s desk funds the government until January 15, 2014 and raises the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014.

So in reality, this heart-attack government is not safe from another shutdown for the next couple months. Moving forward, I hope that politicians take a step back and think of the American people, families, and students before playing politics. There is just too much at stake.

Written by Falating Woods

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