by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has provided additional information about the impacts of the federal government shut down. Based off updated guidance from federal agencies, below is an updated overview of impacts to federal services as a result of the government shutdown.
President Obama signed into law H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, which ensures military personnel will continue to be paid during the shutdown. Non-essential civilian personnel will be furloughed.
Visas and Passports:
The State Department will continue to process foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services, unless the processing of applications occurs in a federal installation that has been shutdown.
VA call centers and hotlines cease to function, and VBA Regional Offices public contact services not available. No decisions issued on claims appeals or motions. Recruiting and hiring of Veteran job applicants cease. Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs will continue but will be delayed due to personnel furloughs and could be suspended when available funding is exhausted in late October. The federal bureau responsible for providing specialized and targeted employment and training services to veterans will cease to operate.
National Security and Public Safety:
Approximately 72 percent of the Intelligence community's civilian workforce furloughed. Physical protection for diplomatic personnel and facilities in dangerous locations overseas compromised, and risk assessments to inform advisory warnings for American tourists and corporations overseas restricted. Security assistance and counterterrorism aid for critical allies like Israel curtailed. Delays in technology upgrades put us at greater risk for cyber attacks. Federal efforts to enhance vehicle safety, aviation safety, and modernize our air traffic control system cease and aviation safety inspectors furloughed. Training curtailed for federal law enforcement agents.
Health, Education, and Research:
Federal assistance to school districts, colleges and universities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies severely curtailed. Important government research into life-threatening diseases, environmental protection, and other areas halted. NIH shuts down most medical research, stop admitting new patients into its research hospital, and stop reviewing grant applications and making or renewing research grants. CDC to greatly curtail its activities to promote immunization, detect outbreaks of infectious diseases, support state and local health departments, and update disease treatment and prevention recommendations. CMS unable to continue discretionary funding for health care fraud and abuse. FDA unable to support majority of food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities.
Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees immediately and indefinitely furloughed, and many Federal employees and contractors that continue to work not paid during the shutdown. Access to National Parks, including the War in the Pacific National Historic Park, are closed to the public. SBA stops approving applications for small businesses to obtain loans and loan guarantees, typically more than $1 billion per month. Housing loans to low and middle income families in rural communities put on hold, as well as start-up business loans for farmers and ranchers.
Projects to improve rail and other mass transit infrastructure will cease as nearly 1,300 grantees lose access to federal funds. Commercial export sales halted. Federal economic reports used by businesses and investors not released. The government will stop or delay environmental reviews of planned transportation and energy-related projects, keeping companies from working on these projects.
Army Corps of Engineers construction stopped, hurting private companies and preventing job creation, and closure or reduced hours for 2,500 Corps of Engineers Sites. The Administration on Children and Families (ACF) will not be able to award new TANF and child care grants, which provide a lifeline to low-income working families.
National parks, Smithsonian museums, and other federal lands closed immediately, negatively affecting local economies dependent on tourism.