The Government Shutdown & its Impacts

Posted by Harriet Mills on Oct 8, 2013 1:58:36 PM

According to the Internet, truckload and intermodal freight has seen little impact from the government shutdown that is now in its second week. In fact, the overall consensus of freight transportation officials is that although we are seeing a few glitches, there has been little change to the industry thus far, but many warn that there may be serious implications if this stalemate drags on much longer.

Luckily the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is not being immediately affected.

The Department of Energy, that tracks and reports on the fuel indexes, has been affected with funding only through October 11, 2013.

If you want to know anything about your SmartWay Partnership program, good luck. Their website currently says, “The federal government is currently shut down. The EPA website and social media channels will not be updated until the federal government reopens.” reports some interesting examples of everyday problems we will see if the shutdown lingers on.  

Friday, Oct. 11: United Technologies, a major defense contractor, says it will be forced to furlough 4,000 workers at two of its companies, Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems. Sikorsky says it will furlough 1,000 more.

Saturday, Oct. 12: Football Saturday for the service academies: Army hosts Eastern Michiganand Navy is at Duke. Those games are up in the air — but college football is such a moneymaker that private donors would probably step in. Private donations are covering the Oct. 5 games, and military officials say the NCAA, CBS Sports and United Airlines all offered to help.

Tuesday, Oct. 15: The final deadline to file your 2012 tax return, provided you got an exemption for the regular April 15 deadline. If you owe the government money, it’s still due — but if you’re having math trouble, you probably won’t get anyone at the IRS on the phone to help.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: Federal courts could shut down. Administrators say the courts will stay open for roughly the first 10 business days of the shutdown, but they say they would have to reassess matters on Oct. 15.

Thursday, Oct. 17: The Big One. The date at which the federal government exhausts its ability to borrow money, unless Congress raises the limit it can borrow — negotiations increasingly likely to be tied up with talks on the shutdown. After Oct. 17, the Treasury would have about $30 billion on hand, enough to cover only a few days. Predictions for the fallout in the financial markets are catastrophic.

Late October: Claims processing for the Veterans Administration’s pension, education and job-training programs can continue through late October. After that, claims processing and payments will be suspended at an unspecified date when the money runs out, spokesman Randal Noller says.

Friday, Nov. 1: Already, as many as 19,000 children in 11 states have been left out of Head Start programs because grant money ran out Sept. 30. Sally Aman, a spokeswoman for the National Head Start Association, says she is unsure how many more children would be left out if the shutdown reaches Nov. 1, but local Head Start programs renew annual grants throughout the year, so thousands more would almost certainly be affected.

Sunday, Nov. 17: The National Retail Federation said Thursday that the next 45 days will make or break the holiday shopping season, which is critical for stores and the overall economy. For now, the federation forecasts Americans will spend $602 billion this year, about 4 percent more than last year, but it warns that consumer confidence could wither if the shutdown wears on.

Monday, Nov. 18: A 20-day launch window opens for Maven, an unmanned NASA spacecraft intended to explore the atmosphere of Mars. Jared Espley, a NASA space scientist, said on Twitter this week that the spacecraft was being put into “hurricane-proof storage” instead of loaded onto a rocket. The Maven launch was later declared exempt from the shutdown.

‘Each day that goes by’: That’s often how the danger increases for intelligence services, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told Congress this week. About 70 percent of the intelligence services’ civilian workforce has been furloughed. “The danger here,” Clapper said, “will accumulate over time.” He cited information lost because he has fewer people to track targets.

Americans are getting used to living in uncertain times. As nerve wracking as the government shutdown is, we’ve been through it before, we prepare and adapt and always, rise above. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, let’s hope law makers get it together sooner than later.

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