Now that we can say finally goodbye to the Republican True Colors Fail-athon or, as it is known around the Ted Cruz household: Pledge Week, let’s us take a gander at all the damage, Tom and Daisy-like, the GOP left in their wake:
Health surveillance may take some time to recover. Every fall the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begin monitoring the flu, identifying emerging flu strains and figuring out their vaccination game plan. The shutdown forced the agency to furlough 8,754 people—some two thirds of its staff—weakening the agency’s ability to monitor flu and support state and local monitoring efforts.
Basic lab operations came to a screeching halt for a host of projects attempting to make headway against blood cancer, pediatric cancers and HIV during the shutdown, with potential ripple effects as the government opens back up for business. Juan Bonifacino’s lab at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, for one, had discovered the role a certain protein plays as asymptomatic infection progresses to AIDS but testing of a new class of potential HIV medications had to be stopped due to the shutdown. A trial of a new treatment for blood cancer also could not be initiated because of the shutdown.
Standard & Poor’s calculates that the shutdown that has so far lasted just over two weeks has taken $24 billion out of the economy, shaving at least 0.6 percent off of GDP in the fourth quarter.
The agency had originally predicted a 3 percent growth rate in GDP this quarter, noting that “we thought politicians would have learned from 2011 and taken steps to avoid things like a government shutdown and the possibility of a sovereign default.” But now recognizing that “our forecast didn’t hold,” it has reduced that estimate to 2 percent.
Space, also known to nerds as the Final Frontier:
Contractors, who in recent years have been shedding workers due to the cyclical dropoff in federal spending, are furloughing thousands on account of the selective shutdown. The Aerospace Corp., the U.S. Air Force’s brain trust for space, announced temporary layoffs for nearly 60 percent of its 3,500 employees, for example. Conferences and other events that facilitate government-industry exchanges, meanwhile, are being canceled due to severe travel restrictions on federal employees.
… virtually all other NASA activities, in particular the research and development projects that represent the core of the agency’s mission, have ground to a halt. There are no civil servants available to approve contractor-proposed changes on space hardware programs, for example, or to clear programs to move from one phase to the next. The result will be either missed opportunities to make common-sense improvements or, more likely, costly delays.
‘Muricans, just like you and me:
In Idaho, a rescue mission in search of a missing Boise woman was put on hold because the workers conducting it were furloughed. In Arkansas, more than 85,000 meals for children were endangered because of cuts to nutritional programs. And in Connecticut, 13 Head Start programs serving 320 children were shut down.
Not all of those impacted by the partial closure of the federal government actually work for the federal government.
Michele Sturgeon, a private contractor with the CDC Foundation, was forced to stop her work on rotaviruses and forego a salary because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention supervisor who runs her project was furloughed.
“If my supervisor is not there, there is not work for me to do and I don’t get paid either,” she told The Huffington Post. “Being a scientist I don’t get paid that much. I have two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree. I owe in student loans three times what I make. I live paycheck to paycheck. This is not financially stable for me at all.”
Nor has the fallout of the shutdown been confined to the United States. Kaitlyn Martin, a Numbered Air Force employee working at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, told The Huffington Post that the staff members who organize emergency travel in her office were furloughed and funds were made “unavailable for travel during the shutdown.”
Michelle Langbehn, 30, has endured nine months of chemotherapy, two cycles of radiation, a spinal fusion and several tumor removal surgeries. But the cancer that’s attacking her body continues to spread, and her future treatment options are limited.
There was hope for the Auburn, California, mom — a clinical trial that’s testing a new drug called Cabozantinib that’s been approved to fight other cancers. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health had gathered Langbehn’s medical records; they were set to evaluate her status on Monday to make an official enrollment decision, she says.
Then the government shut down.
Arkansas already has laid off 673 employees and could furlough an additional 4,000 if the federal shutdown continues for another week.
“The state of Arkansas simply does not have the resources to continue to cover the costs of federal programs,” Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe wrote in a recent memo to agency directors.Some states have avoided furloughs by tapping into accumulated federal funds while others are dipping into state coffers.
Maryland has continued to pay 11,000 employees because the Legislature set aside $100 million to plug holes created by federal budget battles. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback dipped into cash reserves to avoid 119 furloughs and reinstate dozens of others in an office that handles unemployment benefits.
The entire staff of the Maine disability determination office already has been furloughed, meaning people with disabilities “are going to incur additional financial hardship,” said Sara Squires, the public affairs director at the nonprofit Disability Rights Center in Augusta, Maine.
And basically everyone besides Ted Cruz was a big losing loser:
Ted Cruz is like a guy who kills all of his friends in a fiery crash while drunk driving and then complains that they aren’t around to talk about how awesome it must have looked…