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Editorial: Needless shutdown hits home

 

The accounts have come in by the thousands from all over the country, collected on Twitter under the hashtag #ShutdownStories. There's the single mother struggling to make ends meet who has taken up a second job at Denny's to pay for gas to get to her federal government job, where she continues to work without pay. There's the furloughed contractor whose spouse has cancer and fears she won't get back pay.

And here in Mountain View, nearly 1,200 federal employees at NASA Ames Research Center are without work and pay while the longest federal government shutdown in United States history drags on without a clear end in sight.

The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 21 due to a political impasse over a spending bill to fund most government operations. President Donald Trump has so far refused to sign a spending bill because he insists that it include $5.7 billion for a wall on the Mexico border.

As a result, about 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed without pay and roughly 420,000 are working without pay, according to the Washington Post. The impacts of the shutdown have been significant and widespread, ranging from inconveniences -- closed national monuments and longer airport security checkpoint lines -- to alarming lapses in routine food inspections and serious concerns over whether low-income families will continue to receive food stamps.

Then there's the yet to be determined toll on the economy. The 2013 shutdown, which lasted 16 days, took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to an estimate from Standard & Poor's. With the current shutdown set to surpass a month, Trump administration economists have doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week the shutdown persists, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

While local residents and agencies have banded together to offer assistance to impacted workers and their families, the situation is only getting more dire as the shutdown continues. Earlier this month, the Ames Federal Employee Union went so far as to issue $100 union fee refunds to members, a payment that was procedural at the time and now represents a lifeline for people struggling to afford basic necessities. The chief steward of the union, NASA accountant Janette Rocha, told the Voice there are "workers who can't feed their kids, and it could be a month or two months before we get paid." Another NASA employee said he'll have to find a career outside the government if the shutdown lasts much longer. The impact on scientific research and the potential for a "brain drain" of highly skilled professionals to the public sector is unknown, but likely to be significant.

This impasse has upended lives and anguished federal employees and their families around the country, and the fallout from the shutdown is likely to continue long after it ends. Whatever your opinion is on our country's border security policies, we should all agree that civil servants should not be pawns in the president's ploy to fulfill a campaign promise.

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Comments

6 people like this
Posted by Stephanie
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 22, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Speaking of that person with cancer: If the govt can't spend money then are they paying medical insurance premiums for their employees? Are federal employees now without insurance?


3 people like this
Posted by Liberalguns
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm

@Stephanie
"If the govt can't spend money then are they paying medical insurance premiums for their employees? Are federal employees now without insurance?"

That is an excellent question!

I was under the impression that Fed employees got a special federally paid-for system, if so, then it might not be an issue, but if Fed employees get normal health insurance from private companies, then yeah, this is a huge issue the TV media has not yet mentioned.

To be clear, I am no fan of Hillary (I would have preferred Bernie to Hillary), but I think Trump has "shot himself in the foot" with this shutdown because the voters shifted control of the House and Trump should have known that would happen.

In a normal mid-term election, the party of the President always loses a huge number of both Houses of Congress to the opposite party. Remember how Bill Clinton lost control over both houses of Congress in his first mid-term. This is normal, so Trump should have totally expected he would lose control of both Houses of Congress and thus choose some other tactic.

It's a near miracle for Trump that the Dems did not win back the Senate.

It's hard to figure how Trump could possibly turn this to his favor, but I never underestimate the Democrats ability to drop the ball and then shoot themselves in the foot too, so it's aonyone's guess how this will turn out.


22 people like this
Posted by Thank the Dems
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 22, 2019 at 6:32 pm

The Dems could end the shutdown immediately by appropriating $5B for the wall. Obviously from s financial perspective it’s ridiculous since we probably spend more than that each day providing education, healthcare, food and rent assistance etc to the illegal immigrants whom the wall would deter from entering. Dems are digging in for the sole purpose and preventing Trump a “win” so they should thank themselves for the shutdown. This post will probably be removed by the moderators since I mentioned the “I” word.


13 people like this
Posted by Thank -45
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2019 at 6:45 pm

@Cuernavaca -- Hey dude, just because Fox "News," Breitbart, and right-wing AM talk radio tell you that, doesn't make it so.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


11 people like this
Posted by Thank -45
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


1 person likes this
Posted by Govt lesson.
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 22, 2019 at 9:55 pm

If the senate and congress pass the same bill, it goes directly to the President for his signature. Somethings not right here


8 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 22, 2019 at 11:29 pm

[Post removed, user has been banned for repeated violations of terms of use]


8 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

[Post removed, user has been banned for repeated violations of terms of use]


Like this comment
Posted by LOL
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 23, 2019 at 9:36 am

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