By Anna Blue
So it’s not like any of us didn’t expect it. There’s been so much name-calling and political sassing in Congress in the last couple months that a government shutdown was bound to happen. Especially after conservative Indiana Representative told the Washington Examiner on October 2, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
Since then, there have been too many shenanigans to count: Harry Reid offensively calling Boehner out on his “credibility problem”, Representative Randy Neugebauer assaulting an innocent park ranger for blocking the WWII memorial that he and his fellow Congressmen closed, or even Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s decision to lambast Obama in a Washington Post Op-ED. If all of that isn’t enough evidence for you, then let me give you five super important reasons why this government shutdown is one of the biggest shitshows ever.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Lost Its Funding. The government program that provides nutritional food for low-income pregnant women and new moms is without the financial means to provide for some of the American women that need support the most. The shutdown is an insult to a long-standing national priority: protecting women’s health.
- The End of Labor Department Inspections into Workplace Security and Safety. Without government funding, the Labor Department lacks the resources to continue to monitor private companies for any abuses of sexual assault or worker safety policy. Now for thousands of women facing harassment at work, there are two options: leave work and lose income or put up with a unfriendly or dangerous work environment.
- Department of Justice Work Has Been Suspended. Without the oversight of the Department of Justice, several discrimination lawsuits for equal pay and equal treatment filed by women across the country have been suspended for who knows how long.
- (Almost) Unfortunate Goodbye to Head Start Program. Head Start is key to supporting low income families and single moms; they provide free preschool to thousands of children every year, leads health initiatives, and aids in parent services to low-income families. Yet, without the 10 million dollar private donation from billionaire Dora Jones on October 10, the program would have been left stranded, dried, and unable to support American women in need.
- Postponement of “Non-Disaster” Grants and Lack of Funding for The Department of Veteran Affairs. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the government shutdown has ended disaster preparedness programs for state and local areas, making thousands of families vulnerable to disaster and left without back-up in case of tragedy. The Department of Veteran Affairs recently stated that if the shutdown runs into late October, they will be unable to pay compensation benefits to over 3.6 million veterans, men and women alike, that rely on compensation benefits to support themselves.
So, yeah, bad stuff. And there’s even worse to come, for all Americans, if the shutdown doesn’t end soon.