As the partial government shutdown continues, here are 25 facts to stop or warm your heart:
1. President Obama sent an official letter to affected workers. It’s basically a love letter from the President to federal employees…well, maybe its more like a really really sweet breakup letter.
2. Approximately 400 national parks, museums and historical sites are closed to the public! This includes historical landmarks like The Washington Monument, The Statue of Liberty and The Lincoln Memorial. Potential revenue loss? $30 million PER DAY. Let that sink in. Um, I’m no economist, but doesn’t generating revenue help with budgetary issues?
3. There are 24 wedding ceremonies planned on the National Mall for October–nine of which were supposed to occur the same week that the shutdown began. These couples now have to make alternate plans…and fast. #weddedmiss
4. WWII veterans from Mississippi stormed the WWII Memorial. How apropos…from storming the shores of Normandy on D-Day to storming a public memorial on Shutdown Day. The mainly octogenarian vets were part of an Honor Flight tour, which provides memorial tours to veterans. Several lawmakers and their staff were on-hand to assist with the efforts. Thankfully, the U.S. Park Police let the veterans continue their tour without a confrontation.
5. Members of Congress will keep getting a paycheck. With salaries upwards of six figures, a handful of lawmakers plan to forego their paychecks or donate it to charity. Think more should do the same? Then, sign this petition.
6. …but, no wonder they couldn’t make a decision, apparently some of them were drunk as a skunk during the final hours before the shitdown deadline. At least, this is according to reporters Jennifer Bendery and Sam Stein.
7. Many are taking comfort in the fact that government employees were paid retroactively in the 1995/1996 government shutdown. While this is likely true for “essential” employees, the 800,000-ish “non-essential’ employees may not be so lucky. Luckily, some may be eligible for a form of unemployment.
8. Yay–our men and women in uniform will continue to get paid! President Obama signed the “Pay Our Military Act” on September 30 to ensure that military families are taken care of.
9. …but boo to the fact that 3.6 million veterans may not receive disability or pension benefits. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, this will happen if the government shutdown lasts more than two to three weeks.
10. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will continue to receive funding.
11. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) could run out of funds in less than a week. This program provides food and healthcare for low-income women and children, like pre-natal screenings.
12. Additionally, 1,600 Head Start programs, affecting one million, will begin gradually closing down as funds dry up. Head Start is a federally-funded program (The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS) that provides “education, health, nutrition and parent-involvement services to low-income children and their families”.
13. …but SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), a.k.a. food stamps, will still continue. Plus, official USDA child nutrition programs, which impact approximately 47 million children, will still provide assistance.
14. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are turning away patients seeking treatment. According to a recent article by The Wall Street Journal, this includes 30 child cancer patients participating in clinical trials.
15. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is halting its annual seasonal influenza program. Save your sick days– you may actually need them for something other than day drinking.
16. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will continue to pay out retirement benefits to federal employees. However, there may be a delay on retirement applications.
17. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) remains open and will continue to deliver. So, mail your furloughed friends some cookies or something! Now, what kind of cookie says “I’m sorry you’re not getting a paycheck this week” ?
18. Federal prisoners remain behind bars. C’mon people, it’s a government shutdown—not the end of days. We are not going to just release convicted felons…or are we?
19. Don’t worry, though, you can still feel like a convicted felon via airport security checks! The Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) will still pat you down and rifle through your things.
20. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will resume core activities. This will include “routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula), and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.” However, many FDA programs will cease during the shutdown. Good thing salmonella and e. coli aren’t deadly…
21. Thanks to reserve funding, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will continue to operate…at least for a few weeks. Sorry inventors, you may have to tell Mark Cuban to delay your debut on ABC’s Shark Tank.
22. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will stop monitoring pollution issues. Big Business: 100, Environmentalists: 0
23. Social media accounts for various federal agencies, like the Library of Congress and NASA, have gone silent. Employees have been instructed not to post or respond via federal accounts. #booooooooo
24. The National Zoo’s video feed of the yet-to-be-named newborn panda (a.k.a. “Panda Cam”) is no longer streaming. However–fear not–the staff at TIME created their own panda cam live stream. TIME said,” We set up a panda on a stool in our office, and he will be continuously hugged, fed fake bamboo and forced to transcribe interviews throughout the day. He’s not as cute as a real panda, but with the shutdown going strong, he’ll just have to do.”
25. And finally (and ironically), the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) moved forward on Day 1 of the shutdown. Obamacare is the perceived root of the budget battle in Congress. On the first day it opened to applicants, the HealthCare.gov experienced technical issues. The site received such a high amount of traffic that many people couldn’t register.
Abbie Elliot is a senior contributor for MCM and a writer for ‘Under the Tuscan Gun, part of “The Cooking Channel’s “Extra Virgin” with actress Debi Mazar (Entourage’s Shauna Roberts) and husband Gabriele Corcos. She has served as managing editor for ‘DC on Heels’, and has written professionally for organizations like The White House Commission on Remembrance and AOL/The Huffington Post. Follow her on twitter: @abbie_b_elliott or email firstname.lastname@example.org