Everything Is Terrible Because of the Shutdown

These are just a few of the damaging impacts the government shutdown is having on people across America.

National Journal
Lucia Graves
Oct. 8, 2013, 1:37 p.m.

Krasimir Pod­skochiev, 33, from Spring­field, Va., runs a food truck that feeds the city’s fed­er­al work­ers. His truck, “The Taste of East­ern Europe,” stops at L’En­fant Plaza on Monday, the State De­part­ment on Tues­day, and Uni­on Sta­tion later in the week. It re­lies heav­ily on busi­ness from gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees.

“We’ve seen a sig­ni­fic­ant drop in our busi­ness, be­cause we go mostly to gov­ern­ment build­ings,” he told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “It’s dif­fer­ent every day, but we have up to 100 people each day and now we’re get­ting 20 to 30 per­cent less.” If the shut­down isn’t re­solved by the end of the week, he says, he may take next week off.

Pod­skochiev’s truck is just one of the D.C. busi­nesses feel­ing the pinch as hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­er­al em­ploy­ees sit fur­loughed. Today. Sen. Bar­bara Box­er, D-Cal­if., chair­wo­man of the En­vir­on­ment and Pub­lic Works Com­mit­tee, or­gan­ized a news con­fer­ence high­light­ing how fam­il­ies and com­munit­ies around the coun­try are be­ing af­fected by the shut­down.

Ra­fael Moure-Era­so, chair­man of the U.S. Chem­ic­al Safety Board, which in­vest­ig­ates and helps pre­vent chem­ic­al dis­asters such as the West Texas Fer­til­izer Plant Ex­plo­sion, said 37 of his 40 em­ploy­ees had been fur­loughed. (The ex­plo­sion killed 15 people and leveled hun­dreds of struc­tures in April, in­clud­ing three of the town’s four schools.)

Oth­er speak­ers at Tues­day’s event dis­cussed how many crit­ic­al ser­vices, such as the cleanup of tox­ic-waste sites and in­vest­ment in the trans­port­a­tion sec­tor, are be­ing neg­at­ively af­fected by the shut­down. Sen. Bill Nel­son D-Fla., noted that nu­tri­ents have been flow­ing in­to the main es­tu­ar­ies in his state, such as Ca­loosa­hat­chee Es­tu­ary, with nobody to po­lice them. “With us not be­ing able to pro­ceed with these Army Corps of En­gin­eer pro­jects that are to clean up the wa­ter, you’re go­ing to have rivers that are dead rivers, where the nu­tri­ents suck all of the oxy­gen out,” he ex­plained.

The shut­down pain doesn’t stop there. New Mex­ico bor­der-patrol train­ing has been sus­pen­ded; the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion is can­celing its an­nu­al flu pro­gram; and the White House web­site isn’t up­dat­ing its in­form­a­tion or re­spond­ing to any quer­ies. Even real-es­tate agents in Cent­ral Texas have been im­pacted.

In D.C. much loc­al cov­er­age of the shut­down has fo­cused on the clos­ure of na­tion­al monu­ments and the clos­ure of the Na­tion­al Zoo. Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Matt Ber­man made a par­tic­u­larly vali­ant ef­fort to find a panda last week. He failed, but the story is well worth a read.

And in par­tic­u­larly ter­rible news, a Tyr­an­no­saur­us rex skel­et­on that was sched­uled to be de­livered to the Smith­so­ni­an Na­tion­al Mu­seum of Nat­ur­al His­tory has been delayed un­til spring. “Our primary goal is the safety and se­cur­ity of this spe­ci­men,” mu­seum dir­ect­or Kirk John­son told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “It just doesn’t make sense to make the move now.”

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