After 16 days, the government shutdown has finally ended with Congress giving final approval to a budget compromise. Yet it seems that just as effects were beginning to trickle down, citizens were barely starting to take notice. The issue is one that all citizens need to pay attention to, not just government employees and politicians.
Talks to craft a deal that would end the government shutdown came to a halt on Tuesday evening as the Republican-led House failed to gain support of Speaker John Boehner’s proposal. Had an agreement over the federal budget not been made by 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, the Treasury would have been relying on a limited cash reserve with no borrowing authority. The U.S. government would have had less than $30 billion on hand, according to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
Still, many have remained ignorant, deeming the impact of the shutdown elusive. About 800,000 federal employees were placed on furlough, placing them in a financial distress, the Los Angeles Times said.
Even more, nearly 1.4 million active-duty military personnel working were not paid until after a new deal was signed, according to USA Today.
Those who hoped to travel to any state-funded museums, art galleries or zoos would not be able to, and about 368 National Service Park sites would be closed with thousands on furlough, according to CNN. Some of the sites included were the Botanical Gardens, the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial. Even though many reopened on state and private funds, visitors were turned away upon their vacation arrivals.
Agencies closed as a result include the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Communications Commission, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and part of the USDA, among dozens of others.
Other consequences included delays in visa processing, foreign travel passports, gun permits and housing loans halted.
There is nothing at all elusive about the shutdown’s impact.The government shutdown has had an effect on every citizen, government employee or not. It is time to wake up and pay a little more attention to the leaders that put us in this stalemate.