Shutdown of America

Starting October 1, Tuesday morning, a lot of services and agencies reflected far-reaching effects due to the  Shutdown of America. Reports said that these effects are blamed to the American Congress’ failure to prevent the said shutdown.

Several agencies and services have begun literally shutting down. 800,000 federal employees were ordered to stay home for the shutdown.

Several other affected are as follows;

Federal Employees

About 800,000 national employees were ordered not to go to work, which also means they will not be paid. Some of the employees began lining up and asking for back pay. Although the Congress agreed to pay the employees, it might be unlikely to happen.

NASA

It was NASA’s birthday on October 1, but most of its employees were ordered to stay home as well. A staggering 97% of NASA’s employees were not at work. This means that the operation to space was technically grounded. Out of NASA’s 18,000 employees, 17,500 were ordered to stay home. All this employees are working to prepare the Mars MAVEN Mission, which is scheduled to be launched on November 18. If MAVEN will not be launched on the set date, NASA will have to wait for another 26 months, since the window of the alignment occurs only during that time. This mission is to align Mars and Earth. They should be in the right positions for the spacecraft to launch. This will also cost the government more when the launching does not happen.

According to the NASA’s furlough plan, “To protect the life of the crew as well as the assets themselves, we would continue to support planned operations of International Space Station (ISS) during any funding hiatus. Moreover, NASA will be closely monitoring the impact of an extended shutdown to determine if crew transportation or cargo resupply services are required to mitigate imminent threats to life and property on the ISS or other areas.”

NASA Twitter

At present, NASA’s website is temporarily halted and is not accepting any services. Despite this, a number of employees will continue to work at Mission Control in Houston to support ISS. The nation is still ensured that the National Weather Service will forecast weather and warnings while National Hurricane Center will continue to track storm.

US Military

About half of the Defense Department’s civilian employees were also furloughed. Aside from this, 1.4 million civilian workers will continue to be on-duty but are faced with a threat on salary delay. Despite this, the House passed a bill that was later signed by Obama, which ensures workers’ checks will arrive on time. “You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress,” Obama said.

Travel and Tourism

Embassies and consulates will continue serving the Americans. Foreign application for visas and passport processing will remain on its operation since fees are collected for those services. Moreover, traffic controllers will continue to safeguard the roads while airport screeners will continue keeping safety rules through implementing checkpoints. However, many tourists’ spots were barred. National parks and monuments were closed, which include the National Mall, Statue of Liberty, Yosemite and Grand Canyon. On the day’s closure, the workers and park rangers made use of the time barricading these tourists’ spots, thereby preventing people from entering the public places. In addition, safety rules were employed and will continue to be implemented.

Homeland Security

Green card applications will continue to be processed. In addition, the majority of the Department of Homeland Security’s employees will stay on the job. This includes Transportation Security administration officers, uniformed officers at the country’s borders and ports of entry, Secret Service personnel, uniformed agents and members of the Coast Guard.

Public Health

The National Institute of health will no longer accept new patients due to the shutdown, but will continue to be of service to the older patients at its hospital center. Moreover, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reduced ability in tracing and investigating disease outbreaks because it was closed. CDCP is in-charge of tracking flus and getting people to get flu shots, but this annual influenza program was also halted. In addition, local authorities and the state will no longer receive the usual assistance of CCDP, most especially on the tracking unusual disease outbreaks.

Food Programs

The program that provides healthy food to several individuals has also stopped. This program takes responsibility in providing healthy food to children beyond 5 years old, pregnant women with low income and new mothers. But with the shutdown, these dependents might be left seeking for support. “No additional federal funds would be available,” says the Department of Agriculture. They estimated that the state funds would last for a week, but for some states, not all. These funds might still suffice women’s needs for necessities like formula. As for food stamps and lunches for low-income students, they are unaffected, luckily enough.

Courts

Unlike previous shutdowns, courts will continue to operate, including hearings, but with a limit. The courts will operate normally for about 10 business days after the start of the shutdown until the middle of October. If the shutdown goes on, the judiciary will have to furlough some employees whose posts are considered unnecessary. The new term for the Supreme Court is scheduled to be on October 7.

Veterans Services

Everything will work normal with all the services offered at the Department of Veterans Affairs, though during the shutdown, veterans who have issues will have to wait until the shutdown is over. Veterans who appeal for denial of disability benefits will have to wait longer since the DVA cannot make any decisions during the shutdown.
As for other veterans, they can still visit hospitals to get mental health counseling, inpatient care and get prescriptions at VA health clinics.

Mail

Post offices rely on stamps for its income and other postal fees to keep it running. Therefore, deliveries will still continue its operations as normal.

Zoo

Zoo animals will continue to be taken cared of at the National Zoo, but similar with all Smithsonian museums, both are closed to the public.

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