These little guys don't shut down their operations
no matter what the Republicans do.
Jason Cherkis and Sam Stein report
As executive director of DC Safe, a nonprofit that provides emergency services and shelter to victims of domestic violence in Washington, [Natalia Otero's] organization may not seem like a potential victim of a federal government shutdown. But at the turn of the month, with Congress deadlocked, $250,000 in federal and local grants for DC Safe were effectively frozen.
That quarter of a million dollars would have paid cab fare for battered women to travel from a hospital emergency room to a shelter. It would have paid for food to families who left an abusive home. It would have paid for hotel stays when the shelters were full. It would have paid for women to get the locks changed on their doors.
While most civilian employees of the Department of Defense are—or soon will be—back on the job, and members of Congress are still being paid, the impacts of the tea party-engendered government shutdown are far and wide and deep. They range from the mundane to the explosive. The pain is growing day by day. As is the fear. The cost to larger businesses who have been cut off from federal funding may not cause lasting harm, but at some smaller operations, a shutdown that lasts a few weeks could demolish them.
One research firm says the cost of a 21-day shutdown like the one in 1995-96 could shave as much as 1.4 percent off growth in the gross domestic product.
In addition to putting women at risk for battering, and cutting back on the number of National Weather Service balloons in the face of a possible hurricane that, fortunately, didn't happen, there's the little matter of the delayed work at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control. Just as the flu season is getting started, they aren't tracking cases, and 80 staffers normally assigned to analyzing food-borne pathogens sent to them by the states have been furloughed down to two. The pair are focusing on possible outbreaks of the worst—salmonella, E. coli or listeria—and ignoring the others.
"The blind spots are getting bigger every day as this goes on," said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds in Atlanta.
A few examples from scores of other casualties of the shutdown follow below the fold.
• East Texas dairy farmers are being hurt because the farm bill that provides them with subsidies isn't being considered by Congress. Milk prices could rise to $6 or more per gallon, one farmer says.
• College-enrolled veterans, like those at Missouri State University, won't receive tuition or housing assistance.
• Private tourist businesses in or near National Parks and federal recreational areas, such as those close by the Montana town of Fort Smith, are suffering, with the only solace among owners being that the shutdown didn't occur during the summer peak of the season.
• Arizona so far is the only state that has chosen to cut off weekly payments under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. That affects 5,200 eligible families.
• King crab fishing boats in Alaska must stay docked because the government shutdown means the feds are not signing off on needed permits. Estimated losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if the situation doesn't change soon. The season only lasts a month so every day not at sea hurts.
• The 566 federally recognized Indian and Alaskan native tribes are seeing cut-offs in nutrition programs, foster-care payments and financial assistance for the poor and anti-elder-abuse programs as a result of the shutdown.