30 Ways the Shutdown Is Already Screwing People

The government shutdown is bad news for children, children with illnesses, and people who care for children with mysterious illnesses. Also: unemployed goats.

The shutdown has been bad news for babies in Arkansas.Wang Lei/Xinhua/ZumaPress.com


The federal government entered shutdown mode at midnight on Monday, after Congress failed to pass a continuing resolution that would keep departments and agencies up and running. Though some Republicans have dismissed the immediate impact of the shutdown, quite a lot of people have already been affected.

Here’s a quick guide:

Kids with cancer: 30 children who were supposed to be admitted for cancer treatment at the National Institute of Health’s clinical center were put on hold, along with 170 adults.

Head Start kids: When a new grant didn’t come in, Bridgeport, Connecticut, closed 13 Head Start facilities serving 1,000 kids. Calhoun County, Alabama, shut down its Head Start program, which serves 800 kids. Some were relocated to a local church.

Pregnant women: Several states had promised to pick up the tab if the US Department of Agriculture stopped funding the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)—but not Arkansas, where 85,000 meals will no longer be provided to low income women and their children.

Babies: 2,000 newborn babies won’t receive baby formula in Arkansas, due to those WIC cuts.

People who help pregnant women and babies: The 16 people who administer the WIC program in Utah will be furloughed—in order to free up money to continue funding the program.

Whales: The Marine Mammal Commission, which monitors whale populations, is on hiatus.

63-year-old Jo Elliott-Blakeslee: The shutdown of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho has complicated the search for a woman who went missing in the park.

Military suicide prevention: Palm Beach, Florida, television station WPTV profiled Rosemarie Spencer, a contractor with the US Army Suicide Prevention Program who was furloughed on Tuesday.

Virginia: 2,000 workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were sent home on Tuesday, and commissaries in northeast and southeast Virginia, which provide inexpensive groceries to members of the military, closed on Wednesday.

Firefighters: The Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office in Colorado says its ability to respond to a fire is “severely limited.”

Firefighter widows: Heidi Adams, whose husband, Token, was killed investigating a fire in New Mexico last month, won’t receive survivor benefits because there’s no one at the National Forest Service to finalize the paperwork.

Fishermen: National Park Service blocked all access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.

Domestic-violence centers: Facilities in Vermont and Montana stopped receiving reimbursement payments.

People who eat food: Eight thousand employees at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention were furloughed, including those tasked with monitoring the outbreak of foodborne illnesses.

People who cook food: The USDA’s food safety hotline has stopped fielding calls from people with questions about food storage and safe preparation.

Animal-semen exporters: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, “No one in Louisiana will be able export livestock, embryos, fertilized animal eggs or animal semen.” Animal semen? Yup, the USDA monitors that too.

College students: Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and federal work study programs are officially on ice, as of Tuesday.

Bookworms: Arizona’s Marine Corps Air Station Yuma closed on-base facilities including a library, day care center, youth activity center, and pool.

Park rangers: 686 of Alaska’s 750 National Park Service employees are staying home.

First responders: The Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama, which trains first responders for states and municipalities, is closed.

Golfers: The Moffet Field Golf Course near Mountain View, California, is closed due to furloughs at the NASA facility where the 18-hole course is located.

Poor Louisianans: The state Commodities Supplemental Food Program, which serves 64,000 people each month, doesn’t have the funds to operate.

People with mysterious illnesses: The Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health has stopped accepting new patients, with the exception of children with life-threatening illnesses.

Meningitis researchers: A University of Hawaii research facility shut down.

Newt Gingrich: The former speaker of the House decried the closure of a “tour bus turnaround” at Mt. Vernon:

Antique-car lovers: The Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Mississippi, canceled its “Cruisin the Coast” car festival.

Native Americans: The Department of Health and Human Services cut off funding to the Urban Indian Health Programs, which offer dental treatment, primary care access, and substance abuse programs.

Football players: All athletic activities at service academies have been postponed, including Saturday’s Navy-Air Force football game.

Goats: 50 Nubian goats, tasked with eating poison ivy at a New Jersey historical site, were furloughed.

Klansmen: A planned march in Gettysburg by the Confederate Knights of the KKK was canceled because the national battlefield park is closed.

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