Elected enemies: The government shutdown that is crippling America
JEFFERY BONEY | 1/28/2019, 3:06 p.m.
Imagine having to choose between paying your mortgage and picking up the much-needed prescription for your health crisis because the job you report to and the federal resources you have relied on to live day to day are no longer available to you due to things beyond your control.
Choices like those, and many others, are exactly what approximately 800,000 federal employees, roughly 4 million federal government contractors and countless low-income families – who rely on the federal government assistance – have had to deal with since the beginning of what has become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
This has been the third shutdown of the federal government since President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office. However, as a result of the current catastrophic and life-altering shutdown, millions of the people who rely on the government for their livelihood – directly and indirectly – have been severely impacted.
People have had their Medicare and Medicaid disrupted. The stock market has been volatile. Federal workers have gone without paychecks and are in danger of losing everything they have worked so hard for while attaining the American dream. Safety has also become an issue.
Our food supply is at risk.
As a result of the shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration immediately announced that they had stopped most of their routine food safety inspections because the staff had been working without pay, including safety inspections on foods that have been imported from overseas, dangerous recalls, foodborne illness outbreaks and much more.
Our drugs supply is at risk.
The FDA has stated that, because of the shutdown, they no longer have the ability to review new drugs that could be beneficial in helping people get better and/or address critical illnesses, until the government reopens.
Even our airports are at risk.
Just a few weeks ago, a passenger on Delta Air Lines, traveling from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Tokyo, Japan, informed authorities that he had inadvertently carried his loaded firearm through airport security and onto the plane. The Transportation Security Administration confirmed this problematic incident took place. There is increasing concern that unpaid TSA workers may not have the same level of focus and, perhaps even worse, many of them are not reporting to work.
Just this past week, the TSA checkpoint in Terminal B at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport was closed due to the number of TSA agents that called in sick, protesting the shutdown.
Things are getting more and more out of hand.
On top of the potential safety issues impacting Americans, the financial strain this shutdown is putting on the American people, especially in large states like Texas, is devastating.
This government shutdown will impact more than 3.5 million Texans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits come February 2019.
SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, there were 3,580,375 people receiving SNAP benefits in Texas alone as of December 2018. Many African Americans and people of color are major beneficiaries of SNAP benefits in Texas.