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Government Shutdown Across America - The New York Times

Category: Political News,Politics

From the start, it has seemed like the federal government shutdown with no end in sight. More than three weeks later, with Washington still gridlocked over President Trump’s demand for a wall along the southwestern border, that is still true.

But the sharpest effects of the longest shutdown in the nation’s 242-year history are only beginning to emerge across the country. In many parts of the United States, the shutdown has underscored how deeply the federal government is connected to everyday life, and the spending standoff has created cascading crises far from the border.

About 800,000 federal workers are going without pay — and a growing number of them, worrying about missing mortgage and credit card payments, are filing for unemployment benefits. Thousands more federal contractors are off the job and will most likely not be able to recoup their missed paychecks. Restaurants and shops near major federal offices, especially in Washington, have emptied out.

So have laboratories run by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s museums along the National Mall. Food inspections have become fewer, as have many checks by the Environmental Protection Agency. Travelers have complained that airport security lines, run by Transportation Security Administration officers who are working without pay, have come to a crawl. Trash has piled up at National Park Service sites, or at least those that are still open.

Native American tribes have missed out on millions of dollars in federal funding for basic services, farmers have been squeezed by issues with loans and payments, and states have written checks to keep some services and properties, like the Statue of Liberty, running normally. The federal courts have hung on so far, with a goal of saving enough money to run as they ordinarily do through Jan. 18.

Congress recently approved a proposal that promised back pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown. But their checks will come only once Washington reaches a deal. Until then, the consequences will mount from coast to coast.

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