NEARLY TWO WEEKS INTO the federal government’s partial shutdown, approximately 380,000 federal government employees are temporarily out of work, and hundreds of thousands of critical workers in Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration are starting the new year without a paycheck.
But government workers aren’t the only Americans feeling the effects of the shutdown, which Democratic leaders are hoping to resolve when they gain control of the House on Thursday.
Here’s how the shutdown is impacting people throughout the country:
More than a third of Americans were expected to travel during the December holiday season, according to an AAA report. For those who were hoping (or are still planning to) to visit national parks, the experience will probably be far different than expected.
Parks that have stayed open, including Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, have reportedly accumulated a disturbing amount of trash and have been compared to the “Wild West.” Without maintenance crews, garbage continues to pile up and bathrooms are posing sanitation problems. Joshua Tree National Park was forced to close its campgrounds Wednesday as its pit toilets neared capacity. If the parks are closed, local restaurants, shops and hotels that rely on tourists lose out on revenue.
In Washington, D.C., all of the Smithsonian Institution’s museums – free entertainment options for visitors – will be closed starting Wednesday, including the National Zoo.
If the government reopens over the next few weeks, tax returns might not be largely impacted, according to Vox. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t expect for tax season to get into full swing until later in January, and people can still file their taxes while the government is shut down. But if the government is still shut down at that point, the IRS might have to require some employees to work without pay, and there would very likely be a delay in tax returns.
Access to Loans
Businesses are unable to access loans from the Small Business Administration, USA Today reported. This means entrepreneurs looking to start a company aren’t able to move forward on loans to finance their endeavors, since there are no employees to process their applications.
Similarly, the government shutdown could prevent new homebuyers from obtaining a loan.
State and local offices run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture aren’t able to help farmers sign up for programs under the recently passed Farm Bill.
Additionally, the USDA Farm Service Agency offices are closed, which means no one will be evaluating rural development loans and grants, according to NPR.
More Economic Effects
Businesses in areas with large percentages of government employees might see a temporary drop in revenue, as furloughed federal workers cut back on spending.
One bar near the nation’s Capitol has made headlines for its drink specials for government employees during the shutdown. “Nothing Really Mattis” and “Stephen Miller’s” Hair Affair” are among Capitol Lounge’s featured drinks.