President Donald Trump has vowed that the partial government shutdown that began at midnight — the second government shutdown to occur while Republicans control the White House and both branches of Congress — will last for a “very long time.” The shutdown is the result of Trump reneging on an agreement to pass a “clean” bipartisan spending bill. Republicans then threw in more than $5 billion in funding for the wall, the president’s vanity project, blowing up any agreement they had with Democrats to pass a budget.
Because of Trump’s shutdown, the country will go without a number of important services and employees indefinitely, until Congress can pass a spending agreement.
Almost 400,000 federal workers are furloughed without pay, and the shutdown impacts basic government functions like tax collection, transportation, and even domestic security — including border security.
The partial shutdown closes a number of important federal agencies: Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice.
Essential personnel, like corrections officers, FBI agents, TSA agents, Customs and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, will be forced to work without pay (after other shutdowns, Congress has paid such workers retroactively once a budget or continuing resolution is passed, but the payment is up to Congress).
Federal workers — who aren’t concentrated in D.C. but working at agencies and offices across the country — are often hit hard by shutdowns. Thousands of federal workers make less than $45,000 a year, and going without a paycheck or several could force those households to dip into savings. The bottom 20 percent of American households have an average savings of less than $8,750.
In total, about 420,000 federal workers who are considered essential will be forced to work without pay, including 42,000 Coast Guard staffers and thousands of U.S. Forest Service firefighters, air traffic controllers, and railroad safety inspectors, the New York Times reported. Most food safety inspectors — those who are responsible for catching the next E. Coli outbreak — will be forced to work without pay.
Many direct payments and benefits — like veterans’ disability payments, retiree payments, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — will continue to arrive, because the funds aren’t appropriated annually.
But the Emergency Food Assistance Program is impacted by the shutdown, hampering the delivery of food to soup kitchens, food banks, and pantries.
When it comes to National Parks, this shutdown will likely follow the same course of action as last January’s shutdown. About two-thirds of all parks are expected to close, including presidential homes, museums and cultural sites, according the NPCA. Those that remain open will be operating with limited or no staff.
Small Business Administration guarantees to back loans will freeze during the shutdown, affecting millions of small businesses that will lose access to federal assistance loans and technical assistance, according to USA Today.
The shutdown will likely cause delays and disruptions in housing. Buyers looking to obtain mortgages will likely experience delays since most I.R.S. workers are furloughed and unable to verify the tax returns submitted to mortgage lenders, according to CNBC.
Low-income Americans are especially affected: many public housing agencies will have to go without federal funds that cover the cost of operations and serious maintenance issues like broken boilers and leaking roofs, according Elayne Weiss, senior policy analyst for the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Smaller housing authorities that often serve seniors and people with disabilities and have few reserves, could especially be affected, she said.
The State Department will slow down issuing passports, especially if services are offered in the building of another agency that was shutdown, the New York Times reported.
And the government shutdown could exasperate financial fears on Wall Street and continue the stock market’s steady downward dissent. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the looming threats of the shutdown caused the stock market to drop significantly on Friday, even after a top Federal Reserve official tried ease the fears of investors earlier in the day.