A running list of problems caused by the longest-ever U.S. government shutdown

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The U.S. government is now amid the longest-ever government shutdown, as Congress officially adjourned for the weekend on Friday afternoon and the stalemate rolled into Saturday. And problems caused by the shutdown outside of D.C. are growing.

The clearest problem is that approximately 800,000 federal employees are either on furlough or working without pay. For many federal workers, Friday would have been payday. Instead, their money is on hold while President Trump and Congressional Democrats continue feuding over border wall funding. An estimated 1/3 of the affected workers missed their checks today, with the remaining 2/3s set to miss theirs on Monday and Tuesday.

The lack of paychecks is not the only major ramification from the shutdown. Here are some of the biggest ones the country — as opposed to the dysfunctional government itself — is experiencing.

FBI investigations impeded

As the FBI continues operating without funding, the agency is feeling the full force of it. A backlog of evidence is piling up, and the agency even turned down assisting in an international kidnapping case, CNN reported.

Agents have been advised to pay their informants ahead of time, as funds will begin dissipating because of budgetary woes. Representatives from the FBI Agents Association met with Vice President Pence and Speaker Pelosi to discuss their growing frustrations over the shutdown.

“I just got off the phone with a Marine buddy that is in the FBI,” a veteran wrote to CNN’s Jake Tapper.  I tried to give him some money so he could pay his bills and he wouldn’t take it. He was telling me about how the office was 80% full on [last] Friday night despite the shutdown. Lots of great Americans with diverse political views are keeping us safe and not complaining while they are fodder for a political fight with people who probably never or don’t remember the stress of not paying a bill.“

FAFSA complications

Those who are repaying their student loans will still need to be making their monthly payments, since FAFSA is run by the Department of Education, which is fully funded throughout the shutdown. However, federal employees who are not receiving a paycheck are advised to reach out to their loan servicers about restructuring their repayment options.

Some students applying for financial aid need tax transcripts to vary their income and can’t obtain one because the IRS is part of the shutdown.

Low-income students are more likely to be affected by this, since they tend to be flagged for income verification more than other students, according to Inside Higher Ed. However, the DOE has since stated that these students could use alternative documents for income verification.

Farmers without loans

Farmers who had applied for bailouts amid the tariffs are also missing payments since the U.S. Department of Agriculture is closed, which is leavingsome in the lurch about planting next season’s crops.

The deadline to apply for the tariff aid was initially Jan. 15, 2019, although this was extended due to the government shutdown. However, applications can’t be received if the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is closed.

Additionally, farmers can’t receive their Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans, which are approved based on crop production and not historical data. With government offices closed, no one can certify production.

Related: Government shutdown continues 

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Small businesses feeling squeezed

Problems caused by the shutdown also involve small businesses that are applying for loans with the Small Business Administration are also feelingstrangled by the shutdown. Without staff to approve the loans, business has stalled and companies are unable to expand — or even start — their companies.

Craft brewers unable to make beer

Breweries that are applying for labels for new beers arefinding business slow because of the shutdown. Since labels need to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, companies are unable to get labels, and ultimately sell new drinks federally.

Immigration courts delayed

Immigrants awaiting asylum hearings are facing delays as a result of the shutdown. Although Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still running, most U.S. immigration courts are not, unless there is an urgent deportation case.

As of Jan. 10, there were over 800,000 cases waiting to be heard in court. During the 2013 shutdown, over 37,000 immigration hearings were delayed.

Parks trashed

Without staff to maintain the upkeep, some of the parks are seeing trash cans and toilets overflow with waste.  Some visitors to Joshua Tree National Park even destroyed Joshua trees.

Park employees, one of the first few that were affected by the shutdown, are also worried about their financial situation with some employees taking on second jobs to cover their costs. Some workers, fatigued by repeated shutdowns, had opened emergency savings intended for these situations.

Native American lands neglected

Native Americans rely on government funding for health care services and education on their reservations. Police officers on reservations are considered federal employees and have been working without pay, and tribes are uncertain over whether or not they will be reimbursed for shutdown-related expenses.

Additionally, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, “was set to furlough 2,295 of 4,057 employees during a shutdown, meaning at least some of those services and salaries will be slowed or stopped,” according to the New York Times.

SNAP recipients at risk

Washington, D.C., Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, and Louisiana are the top five places in the U.S. with the highest percentage of families on SNAP benefits. The food stamp program is run through USDA and department official stated that recipients will receive funding through February.

However, they did not guarantee that it will continue if the shutdown lasts longer than that. There is a $3 billion emergency fund for the program, but according to Vox, it will cover less than two-thirds of SNAP in March.

No food safety inspections

On Wednesday, news surfaced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stopped routine food safety inspections because of the shutdown. This includes “seafoods, fruits, vegetables, and many other foods at high risk of contamination,” the New York Times reported.

Meat and poultry were exempt from this since both are monitored by the Department of Agriculture, which is still functioning.

Government research impeded

Many government reports will likely be affected. This includes the January jobs report, future job reports, factory orders, inflation data, and productivity reports.

The January jobs report “may show an artificially high unemployment rate and low unemployment figure”  because many of these federal employees could be counted as unemployed. This would raise the U.S. unemployment rate by 0.2%, according to the Associated Press.

With the Census Bureau shut down, future job reports may not be released. The USDA can’t release farming data and although CPI data was released today, the Fed’s preferred inflation will not be.

Other data releases affected by the shutdown include those of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the Economic Research Service.

Additionally, by not funding federal scientists, there could be a major slowdown in potentially life-saving scientific research.

Weather not forecasted

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently shut down. In a Twitter thread, a hurricane specialist explained that this time period is typically used for hurricane training and outreach, and that the shutdown will push employees behind schedule.

The National Weather Service is also unable to carry out key functions related to weather forecasts due to the shutdown.

Mortgage and rent payments missed

Since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, each federal worker has lost an average of over $2,800. Homeowners among them owe approximately $249 million in mortgage payments, while renters may owe up to $189 million each month. This comes to a total of $438 million in payments, according to a HotPads report.

Over 50,000 mortgage originations could have been affected by today as a result of these government agencies being closed.

Travelers delayed

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers, who are being forced to work without pay, are threatening to quit. Many are calling out sick to work, leading to a shortage of employees and long lines at airport security.

In Florida, Miami International Airport announced that it will be closing a terminal this weekend because twice the normal amount of workers have called out sick. Today is the first day that these screeners have missed a paycheck.

The U.S. credit rating wobbles

Fitch Ratings stated that the shutdown could mean the nation’s debt limit won’t be raised later this year, and “could well prompt Fitch, and other credit rating agencies, to lower the country’s triple-A sovereign rating.”

In a tweet, the credit rating agency quoted its global head of sovereign ratings: “Debt ceiling will be problematic if the U.S. government shutdown continues, the worst case scenario will be payment interruption, we won’t see that in the shutdown but could see that in the debt ceiling by March 1st.”

Aarthi Swaminathan contributed to this report.

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.

 

 

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