Amer­ica starts to feel ef­fects of shut­down

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALAN BLIN­DER

From the start, it has seemed like the fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down with no end in sight. More than three weeks later, with Wash­ing­ton still grid­locked over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’ s de­mand for a wall along the south­west­ern bor­der, that is still true.

But the sharpest ef­fects of the long­est shut­down in the na­tion’s 242- year his­tory are only be­gin­ning to emerge across the coun­try. In many parts of the United States, the shut­down has un­der­scored how deeply the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is con­nected to every­day life, and the spend­ing stand­off has creat- ed cas­cad­ing crises far from the bor­der.

About 800,000 f ed­eral work­ers are go­ing with­out pay — and a grow­ing num­ber of them, wor­ry­ing about miss­ing mort­gage and credit card pay­ments, are fil­ing for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. Thou­sands more fed­eral con­trac­tors are off the job and will most likely not be able to re­coup their missed pay­checks. Restau­rants and shops near ma­jor fed­eral of­fices, es­pe­cially in Wash­ing­ton, have emp­tied out.

So have lab­o­ra­to­ries run by NASA and the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion’s mu­se­ums along the Na­tional Mall.

Food in­spec­tions have be­come fewer, as have many checks by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. Trav­el­ers have com­plained that air­port se­cu­rity lines, run by Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cers who are work­ing with­out pay, have come to a crawl. T r ash has pil ed up at Na­tional Park Ser­vice sites, or at least those that are still open.

Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes have missed out on mil­lions of dol­lars in fed­eral fund­ing for ba­sic ser­vices, farm­ers have been squeezed by is­sues with loans and pay­ments, and states have writ­ten checks to keep some ser­vices and prop­er­ties, like the Statue of Lib­erty, run­ning nor­mally. The fed­eral courts have hung on so far, with a goal of sav­ing enough money to run as they or­di­nar­ily do through Fri­day.

Con­gress re­cently ap­proved a pro­posal that promised back pay for fed­eral work­ers af­fected by the shut­down. But their checks will come only once Wash­ing­ton reaches a deal. Un­til then, the con­se­quences will mount from coast to coast.

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