Nancy Pelosi is officially back in charge in the House of Representatives and the Democrats voted Thursday to re-open the government without meeting President Trump’s demand for $5B for the border wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t even willing to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate so things are still at an impasse.
In the meantime, the Smithsonian Museums in Washington and the National Zoo are officially out of money and have shut down.
National parks have been in limbo, mostly open but without staffing or indoor facilities (like visitors centers and bathrooms). As a result, mayhem has been unfolding as scores of people flood onto national park property to take advantage of free admission and parking and complete lack of oversight.
Contractors and tourist-oriented businesses around national parks are losing customers and hemorrhaging money as the situation becomes untenable and some parks start to close, like Joshua Tree in Southern California which had to shut down its campgroundafter damage was sustained while the park was unstaffed.
Similarly, Yosemite National Park in Northern California was mobbed with visitors and according to reports, the bathroom and trash situation is truly out of control. Patrick Redford writes at Deadspin:
“There was a 15-minute line outside the Bridalveil Falls bathrooms at 10 a.m…. That toilet smelled like a family of skunks had shit themselves, died, and then been buried by a mountain of human crap. Trash adorned every trail: Starbucks cups, energy bar wrappers, a confusing amount of discarded cold-weather gear. Most ominous were the mounds of toilet paper. On the side of the trail up to Vernal Falls and at other spots in the valley, I saw at least half a dozen soiled toilet paper tombstones, and while I thankfully did not witness any poops firsthand, there were reports of free-range turds.”
“We’re afraid that we’re going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts. We’re concerned there’ll be impacts to visitors’ safety. It’s really a nightmare scenario.”
— Ryan Hudson (@ry_hudson) January 2, 2019
Ironically, given that the shutdown is based on President Trump’s desire for tough immigration laws and border security, e-Verify (the government service employers use to confirm a job applicant is able to legally work) is down because of the shutdown.
Alaska’s fishing industry is caught up in the crosshairs of the shutdown too, as boats who haven’t yet been inspected can’t head out to catch their haul, potentially losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And come January 11, what should be a payday for federal workers, when hundreds of thousands of people likely won’t be receiving their pay because of the shutdown, pressure will be even greater on President Trump and Congress to come to a resolution.
According to The Hill, a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll recently released found that 58 percent of voters wanted Trump to withdraw his demand for the border funding in the shutdown fight, while 42 percent said he “should not give in.”
Meanwhile, more toilets will overflow on national parks, more contract workers (including custodians and other low-wage workers) will lose income they will never get repaid, more illegal immigrants will likely be hired, and more companies will lose revenue until someone breaks this logjam.