Here’s a look at how the effects of the shutdown go beyond federal workers
Federal workers, some 800,000 of them, won’t get their paychecks Friday. They’re feeling the pinch, for sure. But the partial government shutdown is affecting other American citizens, too. Here’s a sampling of them and the problems that they are seeing:
Michael Thallheimer, 58, was going to get a US Department of Agriculture loan to buy a three-bedroom house in Rio Dell, Calif. That’s on hold. The government’s mortgage program for low- and middle-income Americans in rural areas is currently not issuing any new funds, CNBC reports.
Real estate refinance applications are booming because of a recent drop in mortgage rates. But anyone looking to buy or refinance might have a harder time reaching federal agencies to verify their income taxes or get loan information from the closed Federal Housing Administration, NPR reports.
More than 20 percent of Realtors said they had either a current or prospective client affected by the shutdown. “The shutdown is causing tangible harm to potential buyers, the real estate market and economic growth,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the association, told CNBC.
People who need federal help to fix up their homes
Stacey Gray’s water heater broke in her RV in Louisville, Ky. She applied for a renovation loan through a Housing and Urban Development program, but the agency is closed, CNBC reports.
“I don’t have hot water if I want to take a bath,” Gray, 39, told the network. In the meantime, she’s using public restrooms to brush her teeth and wash up. “It’s broken me,” she said.
People calling into a domestic-violence hotline in Chicago soon might not get anyone to pick up. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline, which refers abuse victims to shelters, counseling centers, legal advocates, and other resources, relies on a Victims of Crime Act grant, administered by US Department of Justice employees. The funds are on hold, the Chicago Tribune reports. The hotline has had to dip into its reserves, and they will run dry in less than a month.
The Transportation Security Administration plans to begin closing a handful of security checkpoints at airports around the country as soon as this weekend in response to staffing shortages, Bloomberg News reports. Miami International Airport expects to shut one of its concourses for several days, the Miami Herald reports.
Concerns have also been raised by unions representing air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors that the safety of the air travel system could be affected, the New York Times reports. “Without a fully functioning FAA, a layer of safety is missing,” said Mike Perrone, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, which represents safety inspectors who are furloughed.
People who live near Superfund sites
Environmental cleanups at Superfund pollution sites around the nation have been suspended except for cases where the administration deems ‘‘there is an imminent threat to the safety of human life or to the protection of property,’’ The Associated Press reports.
People who live near various industrial sites
Inspections of chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, water treatment plants, and thousands of other industrial sites have stopped because the Environmental Protection Agency had to furlough most of the employees involved, the New York Times reports.
People who eat seafood, fruits, and vegetables
The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables, and many other foods at high risk of contamination, The New York Times reports.
A division of the Treasury Department has been idled that regulates manufacturers of craft beer, dealing a blow to a booming industry and disappointing brew fanatics, the Times reports.
Michelle Aavang, a longtime farmer in Illinois’s McHenry County, said she’ll do OK for the next few months, but she’s worried about the effect on younger farmers of a holdup in government payments from the Market Facilitation Program. That’s the program intended to help farmers offset losses from tariffs imposed by China because of President Trump’s trade war. World supply-and-demand reports, which Aavang relies on to market her crops and plan for the future, have also been delayed, she told the Chicago Tribune.
Farmers also cannot get federally backed operating loans to buy seed for spring planting or feed for livestock, among other hardships caused by the shutdown, The New York Times reports.
A farm bill passed in December included programs to help dairy farmers through swings in the market, and provided services for farmers struggling with stress and depression, but the programs cannot be implemented because of the shutdown, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, told the Times.
National park visitors
Many national parks are closed. Some are open with limited staffing or with the help of states. At some parks, volunteers have stepped in to help with cleanup. Questions have also been raised about visitor safety, the New York Times reports.
Anyone who does business with a federal employee or agency
Farida Abou Draa, looking out from her food truck on an empty sidewalk in Washington, D.C., said she felt like crying and worried for the future.
Abou Draa told Reuters. “I can’t pay my rent. I can’t pay [for] my food. I can’t pay my employees.”
Food truck owners in Washington are just an example of businesses nationwide that rely on federal workers’ spending. Federal paychecks boost local economies in many communities. They’re bracing for an economic body blow, The Washington Post reports.