The effects of the government shutdown

Politics -

A partisan battle in D.C. led to a government shutdown in the fall of 2013.

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Copyright 2014 Reuters
Copyright 2014 Reuters

The piece of legislation behind government shutdowns is the Antideficiency Act, which bans federal workers from entering into contracts or paying for programs without enough funding. Roughly half of civilian federal employees -- 1.2 million -- have been furloughed since Oct. 1.

The Obama administration said Oct. 10 that states may reopen national parks closed by the federal shutdown if the states foot the bill for park operations. National parks -- such as the Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite -- have been closed since Oct. 1 and more than 20,000 park employees have been furloughed.

Native American tribes, which suffer from chronic poverty, are dependent on subsidies that will stop because of the government shutdown. Tribes say they will try to pay for some of the gaps left behind from the payments, but may have to incur deficits in doing so.

National landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Washington Monument were closed to visitors during the shutdown. Copyright 2014 Reuters

National landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Washington Monument were closed to visitors during the shutdown.

2013 New York City Marathon

The starting line of the 2013 New York City Marathon may have to be moved if the shutdown persists. Currently the runners' staging area is at former military installation Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, which is operated by the National Park Service.

Organizers for the Marine Corps Marathon scheduled for Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C. said on Oct. 15 that if a deal to end the shutdown does not come within a week, they are not sure if the race will occur. The marathon is the third largest in the U.S. and eighth largest in the world.

Starting on Oct. 1, a number of federal websites began displaying messages related to suspended services due to the shutdown.

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The <a href="http://www.nsf.gov/outage.html">National Science Foundation announced on Oct. 8</a> the closure of its three Antarctic bases because of the shutdown. The NSF spends around $400 million annually to operate and maintain the South Pole research bases, including McMurdo Station (pictured). The stations will have skeleton crews for maintenance. CC BY-ND WikiCommons

The National Science Foundation announced on Oct. 8 the closure of its three Antarctic bases because of the shutdown. The NSF spends around $400 million annually to operate and maintain the South Pole research bases, including McMurdo Station (pictured). The stations will have skeleton crews for maintenance.

The Pentagon furloughed 400,000 civilian employees. Hours before Congress shut down the government, the Pentagon awarded $5.5 billion worth of contracts to private companies, according to reports. Copyright 2014 Reuters

The Pentagon furloughed 400,000 civilian employees. Hours before Congress shut down the government, the Pentagon awarded $5.5 billion worth of contracts to private companies, according to reports.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin on Oct. 4 said it plans to furlough 3,000 of its 120,000 workers beginning Oct. 7 as a result of the federal government shutdown. Some 95% of the company's employees work in the U.S.

The three-month Alaska crab season is set to begin, but fisheries managers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Juneau have been furloughed due to the government shutdown. With officials unable to issue the necessary paperwork, some 80 boats may miss the start of the season.

The U.S. Postal Service (an independently funded program) would continue to deliver mail, despite its own budgetary problems; taxes would still be collected; and the Affordable Care Act would still be implemented.

"The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government." Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary

The White House announced Oct. 3 that a planned trip by President Obama to Asia had been canceled due to the shutdown.

"B/c of #shutdown, @VAVetBenefits overtime ends today. After decreasing backlog 30%, we project it will start increasing." Tommy Sowers, VA official

After shrinking its massive backlog of benefits claims for the last few months, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) has said the shutdown could slow progress.

"Shouldn't we as a body, Republican, Democrat, no matter who we are, shouldn't we be embarrassed about this, shouldn't we be ashamed?" Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Both Republicans and Democrats said Oct. 8 that they will try to rectify what they say was an unintended lapse in immediate death benefits coverage for families of U.S. soldiers that die while the shutdown is going on. A bill is expected to be introduced and likely voted on in the House on Oct. 9.

As of Oct. 8, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had enrolled 12 critically ill patients in potentially lifesaving clinical trials--the only exception to the post-shutdown policy of turning down new patients. Usually, 200 patients enroll in NIH trials every week. 73% of the NIH's staff were furloughed.

A pair of philanthropists pledged $10 million Oct. 7 to reopen Head Start centers that were closed because of the government shutdown. Some 7,000 at-risk children stand to benefit from the funds.

This fall may see the worst stink bug season on record, entomologists predict, as the smelly pest has been sighted in 40 states (up from 33 in 2011). USDA researchers working to find ways to manage the bug, which has destroyed millions of dollars worth of crops in past years, were forced to stop after the shutdown. CC BY-ND WikiCommons

This fall may see the worst stink bug season on record, entomologists predict, as the smelly pest has been sighted in 40 states (up from 33 in 2011). USDA researchers working to find ways to manage the bug, which has destroyed millions of dollars worth of crops in past years, were forced to stop after the shutdown.

The IRS said that the federal government shutdown has caused it to delay the 2014 tax-filing season by 10 days. Tax returns will be admissible for filing on Jan 31. The statutory filing deadline of April 15 is unaffected.

A new Gallup poll of 1,028 adults, conducted from Oct. 3-6 during the federal government shutdown shows that 60% of respondents said that Democrat and Republican parties "do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed."

After lengthy negotiations, Congress voted late Oct. 16, 2013 to pass a bipartisan bill to open the federal government after a two-week shutdown and to raise the nation's debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014. The bill, signed by President Obama hours later, included minor concessions on Obamacare.

The Office of Management and Budget said on Nov. 7 that the shutdown cost $2 billion in lost productivity from furloughed workers, which the government will pay in back wages. An additional $500 million will go to social welfare payments for those federal employees.

The U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 7.3% in October from 7.2% in September, despite adding a better-than-expected 204,000 jobs in a month that included the government shutdown, the Department of Labor reported Nov. 8. The department said furloughed federal workers may have been the reason the rate edged up.

The shutdown delayed more than 37,000 immigration hearings-- including those of asylum seekers-- according to a report published by the AP. Some hearings have been delayed until 2015. The report is based off emails from Chief Immigration Judge Brian O'Leary to immigration judges obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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