Everything You Didn’t Realize About The Government Shutdown

At this point, everyone has heard that our government shut down.  You’ve all heard why it happened, but maybe not how it’s affecting you. All of the odds and ends, the little problems you never think of. So here it is: everything you didn’t know about the government shutdown.

The government shutdown happened because the two political parties, Democrat and Republican, were unable to come to an agreement on budget. Because of this, they couldn’t pass a legislation, and so there was nothing telling them how to spend the money. Unable to agree, they halted all funding and spending, so anyone and anything that was paid by the government was put out of business. About 800,000 government employees have been indefinitely furloughed without pay, and another 1.3 million are being forced to work without immediate pay.  Needless to say, this has inconvenienced hundreds of thousands of people, putting them out of work, with no immediate income, and in some cases placing families in jeopardy. Research being conducted in Antarctica has been put on pause, however the time slot open for this particular research is very small during each year. If the government doesn’t pull through soon, it will be unable to continue. aside from things like research bases, government workers and organizations, many smaller things have been affected and discontinued, including things putting many people – maybe yourself included – into danger.

One thing you probably didn’t realize was affected: your cafeteria.  Normally, all food is inspected and tested before being sent to school cafeterias. However, since the shutdown, all domestic food inspections have been halted, except those on meat and poultry. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C) and Prevention were recently recalled furloughed workers to handle a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people in 18 different states. The Food and Drug Administration, which is usually responsible for inspecting most of what Americans eat, has gone from usually inspecting about 200 plants per week to none, and inspection on all imported food has been greatly reduced. The Agriculture Department hotline, a hotline people can call for information about food safety or to report food problems, has been shut down. At the C.D.C., many workers who oversee databases tracking food-borne illnesses have been furloughed. so until the shutdown ends, you may want to be a bit more careful about what you eat.

Many of you may not find it very upsetting to see all national parks and zoos closed down. But to the panda lovers in Washington, D.C., this means war. One of the main attractions of the Washington D.C. National Zoo is the much loved Mei Xiang, who happens to be a giant panda. However, this is one attraction you don’t have to go to the Zoo to see. The beloved Panda Cam, which is a small camera placed inside the panda’s den, allows full time access and viewing of the panda and her newborn cub. However, much to the dismay of dedicated panda watchers, the Panda Cam has been shut down along with the National Zoo. All of the animals in the zoo are being taken care of the same as they would if the zoo was open, but the people are no longer able to watch the pandas. This announcement was followed by a mass of angry tweets and postings to the internet, everyone enraged and begging to regain access to the Panda Cam. Despite all of the protests, the Panda Cam has stayed shut off.

Although this shutdown has proved to be one of the longest ever, things are beginning to look up. Several organizations and monuments have found ways around the shutdown – the Liberty Bell was recently reopened.  Some Senators have optimistically stated that they believe the two political parties may be getting close to an agreement. So fingers crossed – we may have our Panda Cam back soon enough.