Congressional Republicans had their big tantrum last night and decided to shut down the government in attempt to block a health care act that's already passed both houses of Congress and survived a challenge in the Supreme Court. And it's not just D.C. that'll probably start resembling Naples soon; starting today, government employees from all over will be sent on forced furloughs, and a number of federal services here will shutter until the House and Senate reconcile. Here's what NYC can expect to lose, thanks to our dysfunctional system of government:
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY: Geez, this poor girl can't catch a break. The shutdown means no National Parks or Monuments, and so Lady Liberty is now closed to visitors. She's only been open to the public since July 4th weekend, having previously closed for a year-long renovation and then again after Hurricane Sandy.
PHOTO; It's official, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island closed. pic.twitter.com/vhO8uPLhuQ
— Stephen Nessen (@stephen_nessen) October 1, 2013
ELLIS ISLAND: Yep, Ellis Island is a National Monument too, and so it is also closed. Though you probably won't miss it, since it's been off-limits to the public since sustaining some major damage in Hurricane Sandy. No word on how the shutdown will affect its restoration, though. Also closed: the National Museum of the American Indian, which is part of the Smithsonian Institute.
THE IRS: The Internal Revenue Service will be losing a good chunk of its employees, so some of its services will also disappear. The good news? They'll be suspending all audits. The bad news? If you filed for an extension you'll still have to file your federal tax returns (October 15 filing date approaching fast!), and there will be no toll-free helplines to guide you through the process.
SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, UNEMPLOYMENT, SNAP: Essential social programs will still continue as normal, but you should expect delays in processing if you're a new applicant. Delays, delays, delays, delays.
FEDERAL JOBS: According to WNYC, there are approximately 50,000 federal civilian employees in New York City, and a number of them will be sent home for the shutdown. It won't just be these employees who are affected; businesses near government offices will likely lose customers and needed revenue. And businesses who contract with the government, like construction companies, suppliers and social service agencies, will probably experience delays in getting paid.
A number of services will still continue as normal, including the U.S. Postal Service, passport offices, prisons and air-traffic controllers. But the longer the shutdown stretches, the more difficult things will become, and more jobs will be lost.