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Monday, July 22, 2024

Government shutdown affects so many in so many ways

Cars line up at Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim entrance on Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
Cars line up at Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim entrance on Tuesday.
(AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Taking out a mortgage. Getting married in a park. Going for a fall foliage drive. Cashing a check.

Who knew that so many random activities of daily life could be imperiled by a shutdown of the federal government?

Americans are finding that “the government” entails a lot more than the stereotype of faceless D.C. bureaucrats cranking out red tape.

And so it is that two dozen October weddings, including nine this week, are in jeopardy because they’re scheduled for monument sites on the National Mall. Ditto for a New Jersey couple planning to marry at the Grand Canyon.

Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le’s permit to get married Saturday on the lawn near the Jefferson Memorial looks to be among the casualties, giving rise to a new Twitter hashtag for their #shutdownwedding. They’re looking at alternate sites, including the restaurant booked for their reception.

Also canceled: a weekend Ku Klux Klan rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Want to take a drive along Virginia’s popular Skyline Drive to take in the fall colors in Shenandoah National Park? Not till the government reopens.

It’s not just romance, tourism and public events that are in jeopardy.

Consider the Wisconsin farmer who can’t cash a check for a cow he sold.

Ben Brancel, the state’s agriculture secretary, said that because the farmer has a loan from the Farm Service Agency, he can’t cash the check without both his own signature and one from an FSA official, unavailable during the shutdown.

“Our advice to him was he was going to have to wait, that there wasn’t anything he could do about it,” Brancel said.

Ready to buy your first house?

Borrowers applying for a mortgage can expect delays, especially if the shutdown is prolonged. That’s because many lenders need government confirmation of applicants’ income tax returns and Social Security data. Mortgage industry officials say they expect bottlenecks on closing loans if the shutdown stretches on for more than a few days.

In addition, low- to moderate-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-insured mortgages for single-family homes from the Federal Housing Administration can expect longer waits because of sharp reductions in FHA staffing.

Even workers who get their paychecks from a state government aren’t safe from the ripple effects of a federal shutdown.

An assortment of state workers around the country are on furlough because the money for their jobs includes dollars from Washington. Among those are hundreds of workers at Arkansas’ Military Department and one at the Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute, a vocational school in Forrest City, Ark.

In Illinois, the furloughs include 20 workers in the state Department of Employment Security and 53 in the Department of Military Affairs.

“These are the first, and there may be more,” said Abdon Pallasch, the state’s assistant budget director.

Want to escape the shutdown worries with a bike ride on the C&O Canal, a popular 184-mile trail and national park between Washington and Cumberland, Md.?

Closed. Those thinking of ignoring the closure notice and going anyway should consider this: Restrooms will be locked and handles removed from water pumps along the way.

One possible silver lining to shutdown annoyances writ small and large: The whole thing could serve as a teachable moment for all those people who tell pollsters that they want budget cuts — as long as they aren’t directly affected.

“As time goes by, more and more people see these little things that they took for granted,” said Ed Lorenzen, a policy adviser at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group pushing for spending discipline.

He said the shutdown could serve as a reminder that “you’re not going to be able to the balance the budget just by cutting spending in Washington that doesn’t affect people.”


Associated Press writer Andrew Miga contributed to this report.


Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at

Copyright  © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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2 thoughts on “Government shutdown affects so many in so many ways”

  1. This article really highlights just how little the government does for actual people. We have a “shutdown”. And does that mean the IRS is closed? The Pentagon? The FBI? The TSA? No. It means…

    “And so it is that two dozen October weddings, including nine this week, are in jeopardy because they’re scheduled for monument sites on the National Mall…the Wisconsin farmer who can’t cash a check for a cow he sold.”

    Why does the National Mall need to be closed? Because it never occurred to anyone in the government to run it like Disney runs Disneyland and Disney World. Disney doesn’t tax all the people and borrow money in order to run these theme parks, they tried this radical concept of charging a ticket price to enter the park for everyone who….gasp…wants to enter.

    I know right? Who knew?

  2. Sadly true, but what’s even more depressing is that in essence we are flat, dead broke as a nation.

    We went from being the world’s greatest lender to the greatest debtor in the 80’s under the Reagan/Bush administration who against recommendations of the NIE (Nation Intelligence Estimate) that the Soviet Union was crumbling under its own inefficiences proceeded to p*ss 5 trillion dollars down the MIC rathole to ‘outspend’ the Soviets when in essence they too no longer had anything to spend on defense. Now thirty years later we’re in the same fix at the hands of an out of control defense establishment and so too ‘gold-plated’ social services that we cannot afford.

    This President is obviously an amateur when it comes to negotiating skills and so too Mr. Boehner is out of his league when he’s compared to past Speakers of the House. Evidently the concept of genuine compromise no longer exists, both sides operating with an “it’s my way or the highway attitude” consequences be damned.

    The concept of providing medical care for all citizens is admirable, but ‘Obamacare’ is not the answer. If allegedly 2000 exceptional waivers have been granted, then that alone should tell the President that’s there’s something wrong with the plan and it needs to go back to the drawing board or scrapped.

    So too the Republicans need to give up their love affair with everything ‘military’. Ike warned this nation of the hazards for such activity, but no one listened. Sixty years later we’re broke as a nation.

    On another note, the Glass-Steagall Act of the 30’s which separated brokerage from banking should have never been repealed in the late 90’s, but again no one remembered what greedy banker/brokers did to this nation back then thus fomenting the “Great Depression”. In 2008 we witnessed the end result of almost a decade of out of control, minimally regulated, banking, brokerage and insurance scamming. Instead of being brought to justice, the American taxpayer has been stuck with the tab for their downright irresponsible to criminal business practices.

    Seemingly our leadership is owned lock, stock and barrel by greedy corporate interests and our citizens are more interested in shopping and entertainment than the maintenance of their freedom and their national solvency.

    So this current debacle is the direct result of apathy of pandemic proportions. The party is over, but no one seems to realize it. We’ll get through this flap, but the big crash acomin’ is just around the bend and the government will be shuttering many functions no differently than Greece and other marginal to failed Eurozone nations. Believe it…!

    Carl Nemo **==

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