Issue Report ● Shutdown
For Immediate Release: 
January 5, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
Two weeks after President Trump decided to shut down government over his costly and ineffective border wall, the impact of the Trump shutdown is growing. House Democrats and a few responsible Republicans have come together to pass Senate Republican funding bills to reopen government. But rather than take up and sign those bills that are agreed on, Senator McConnell and President Trump are refusing to end this Trump shutdown. As they continue to hold the government hostage, the impact of the shutdown is growing:

  • Approximately 800,000 federal employees are working without pay or still furloughed:
    • 420,000 federal employees – including Coast Guard service members and law enforcement and public safety personnel like FBI agents, CBP agents, and forest service firefighters – are working without pay.
    • 400,000 federal employees – including civil servants who work at the Food and Drug Administration, State Department, NASA, and Small Business Administration – are unable to go to work and are at risk of missing a paycheck. 
  • Government contractors are operating at a standstill. Their employees are unable to work, and they won’t receive retroactive pay like federal employees have in the past.
  • Nutrition assistance: If the shutdown lasts beyond January, nutrition assistance will be reduced by 40%, affecting nearly 40 million individuals and families across the country.
    • “Cngress has not allocated funding for SNAP beyond January, and the program’s emergency reserves would not cover even two-thirds of February’s payments, according to past disbursements…. If the shutdown continues through March, there would be no remaining money for benefits…. The disruptin would hurt not only the families that receive the assistance but also grocers and other retailers where the money is spent.” [Washingtn Post, 1/4/19]
  • Food safety: The Food and Drug Administration’s ability to ensure the safety of some medical product, animal drug, and most food related activities is significantly undermined as well as their ability to conduct inspections.
  • Homebuyers: The Federal Housing Administration is not processing loans and mortgage approvals.
  • Renters: The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Real Estate Assessment Center is not conducting inspections of rental units to ensure housing is safe and sanitary.
  • Air travel is less secure:
    • “Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials. The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure.” [CNN, 1/4/19]
  • The shutdown undermines the Coast Guard’s efforts to provide mariner licensing, boating safety checks and patrolling to ensure fishing laws are enforced. Training and maintenance has also been delayed.  
  • Lives are being put at risk as a result of national parks operating without staff or guides. Three Americans died in national parks the week after the shutdown began.
  • The National Parks Conservation Association estimates the park service has lost about $5 million in revenue since the shutdown began. 
  • Local business near the national parks are also impacted by the shutdown:
    • Greg Heningtn, Owner of Far Flung Outdoor Center in Terlingua: “If we are ging to continue to use the federal government as a weapon for not getting what we want in the sandbox, then this is untenable for small business. We can’t make decisions, we lay off employees, we take cancellations.” [Washington Post, 1/2/19]
    • Lilia Falcn, who owns a restaurant and a bed-and-breakfast in Boquillas: “It has been terrible. We were waiting fr our best time of the year…It’s when we wait and stock up and save the money we make for the rest of the year. Christmas has not been good for us because of the shutdown, but what can we do? Nothing! Nobody will ever hear us.” [Washington Post, 1/2/19]
  • All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed to tourists and visitors.
American Indian tribes are disproportionally feeling the impact across the country:
  • Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: “...The government shutdown comes with a price tag: about $100,000, every day, of federal money that does not arrive to keep health clinics staffed, food pantry shelves full and employees paid.” [NYTimes, 1/1/19]
  • Aaron Payment, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe: “The federal government owes us this: We prepaid with millions of acres of land…We don’t have the right to take back that land, so we expect the federal government to fulfill its treaty and trust responsibility.” [NYTimes, 1/1/19]
  • Russell Begaye, Navajo Nation: “On the Navajo Nation...A blanket of snow has covered the region, but roads are unplowed because federal maintenance has stopped. Many people are now trapped in their homes, unable to make the 20- or 50-mile journey to buy water, groceries and medicine... ‘[The shutdown] just kind of snowballs into our people doing things that they know they shouldn’t do and further financially obligating themselves…They have to keep their heater going. They have to keep their water on.’” [NYTimes, 1/1/19]
  • Cathy Chavers, Bois Forte Indian Reservation: “Tribal functions were continuing for now, but ‘it will probably come down to minimal, minimal basic services’ if the shutdown lasts another month.’ Already, police officers on her reservation, who are employees of the federal government and not the tribe, were being forced to work without pay. ‘These officers are putting their lives on the line…and they don’t know if they’re going to get a paycheck or not.’” [NYTimes, 1/1/19]
Polls are showing that the American people agree that the President is responsible for the shutdown: 
  • From a Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Americans blame President Trump for the government shutdown by 13 points (47-33%). [12/27/18]
  • From Public Policy Polling: Americans blame President Trump and Republicans for the government shutdown rather than Democrats by 13 points (54-41%). The margin expands to 20 points (57-37%) with women. [1/4/19]
Democrats support border security, and have passed Republican legislation to reopen government. It’s time for Republicans to take yes for an answer and pass that legislation to end the Trump shutdown.

Click here to read the PDF. 

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