Four ways the government shutdown could impact us at Georgetown
The government shuttered all “nonessential” services at midnight Monday night, following a drawn-out battle over the individual mandate as part of the Affordable Care Act. House Republicans held government funding hostage in exchange for at least a year’s delay of the implementation of the individual mandate. This is the first time in 17 years that this has happened, which is terrifying on two fronts: our recovering economy will have to bear the brunt of the impact, and also, kids who were born in 1996 are 17 now.
In an unprecedented move, District lawyers decided on Friday to utilize the city’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to keep D.C. running. Trash is still being collected by the Department of Public Works, city offices are still functioning as normal, city public libraries are still open, and the Circulator is still running. Permits, licenses, and parking tickets will still be issued.
Thanks to Gray, students are spared from most of the budget bill carnage, at least for the time being. On Oct. 13th, the $144 million in the fund is expected to run out. After that, the D.C. government will have to stop all its nonessential services, unless Gray convinces President Barack Obama that his city employees are as essential as the Army and Border Patrol agents.
Here are 5 ways that the government shutdown, aside from the demise of the panda cam, could affect Georgetown:
1. Food inspections will stop. While the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration will continue running as best as possible with the funds that have already been allocated to it, food imports will not be inspected, and any alleged violations will go unmonitored. Well, now there’s a really good reason to buy local food from the Farmers’ Market.
2. Visa and passport processing will stop. Need a new passport for study abroad? Filed a visa application to study here? Neither of those things will be processed until the government passes a bill to approve appropriations.
3. Flu outbreaks won’t be monitored. That kid who just won’t stop sniffling in the middle of your midterm? It could get worse.While the flu vaccinations won’t be halted, that’s only one piece of the puzzle—there won’t be public awareness campaigns to ensure that people are vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control will also be unable to monitor and collect data on large outbreaks. With flu season just around the corner, and college generally being a cesspool of ambient diseases, this could prove problematic for us at Georgetown.
4. Pell Grants and student loan repayments. With only 212 employees out of 4,225 of Department of Education employees at work, processing for loans could go much more slowly for grants and Federal Direct Student Loans.
Photo: Lucia He/Georgetown Voice