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When the government doesn't open

Trump held 8 of the 12 federal appropriation bills hostaged. These eight were Homeland Security; Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; Interior and Environment; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and HUD.

For those who want a simple way of looking at it, here are the departments that were closed except that some federal employees were told to come to work even though they were not getting paid -

  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Homeland Security Department
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of State
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Justice
More than 420,000 of the 800,000 furloughed had to come to work even though they were not getting paid. This included the air traffic controllers, coast guard, the FBI and border security. Even a few IRS agents were called back to work - no paycheck however. 

Democrats will be relieved to know that Robert Muller's investigation would continue - it is funded under a permanent indefinite appropriation. 

You should know that in the past continuing resolutions (CR)  have been passed by Congress and signed by the president to continue government at the same rate as the last fiscal year. However, this year, the president would not sign continuing resolutions for these appropriation bills listed above. There is a simple solution - pass a permanent CR so that government continues to operate on last year's budget while trying to pass this year's budget. But it is doubtful that the president would sign such a bill.

As a result of the shutdown, some 800,000 federal government workers have been furloughed or are forced to work without pay, and an estimated 4 million contractors were affected. Small businesses could not get loans, private companies are not going public, and federal courts were running out of money.

Vox had an interesting read, "Robert Shapiro, the chair of the advisory firm Sonecon and a fellow at the Brookings Institution, pointed out in a blog post that the Department of Commerce issues the most data on economic performance, and because of the shutdown, a lot of that has come to a halt — data on imports and exports, construction spending, home sales, retail spending, manufacturers’ orders, shipments, and inventories, for example."

For those depending upon scientific grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and several other institutes, they had to wait.

But it was the airports that finally did the trick. TSA workers were calling in sick to the point that airports had to cancel flights. 

We have two more years of this.


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