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Topics: House of Representatives

6 groups targeted to make the shutdown look worse

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Barack Obama,Senate,House of Representatives,Ashe Schow,Budgets and Deficits,Minusextra,Government Shutdown

A partial government shutdown just wasn't going to hit people the way the Obama administration needed it to, so officials resorted to some unprecedented acts to make Americans feel the pain, as Conservative Intel's David Freddoso notes:

Most people — even the poor in state-run safety net programs — don’t have that many interactions with the federal government agencies affected right now by the shutdown.

So it’s a challenge to make people notice that your agency is vital to the survival of the Republic. The feds have to apply a lot of force and behave in unsubtle ways to make you angry with Congress.

1. Veterans


No group has been more visible during the shutdown than veterans. Memorials were closed, and House Democrats voted against bills that would restore funding to veterans programs.

A short list of some of the monuments closed (note that veterans moved barricades to see their monuments anyway):

» World War II Memorial

» Normandy cemetery

» Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

» Iwo Jima Memorial

Just 4 percent of employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been furloughed, according to Government Executive magazine, making it even more odd that the department’s funding wasn’t restored.

2. Lake Mead, Nev., property owners


Suddenly, owning a home on federal land causes homeowners to be kicked out of their domiciles.

Ralph and Joyce Spencer, an elderly couple who own a Lake Mead cabin, were forced out of their homes by park rangers saying they had to leave until the federal government reopens.

The Spencers have owned their home since the 1970s, and fellow Lake Mead resident Bob Hitchcock, who's owned a cabin on the lake for 26 years, said he wasn't told to vacate during the previous government shutdown that occurred under the Clinton Administration.

3. Cancer patients


House Democrats also voted against a bill to restore funding to the National Institutes of Health, a federally funded medical research center.

Yes, there is privately funded cancer research still occurring, but saying no to cancer research of any kind is probably not a winning strategy.

NIH is an agency within the Health and Human Services Department, which furloughed 49 percent of its employees, according to Government Executive.

4. National Guard and Reserve units


House Democrats (noticing a pattern?) also voted against funding that would allow members of the National Guard and Reserves to return to work during the shutdown.

Democrats say the reason they won't pass piecemeal funding bills is due to GOP “cherry-picking” parts of the government to fund instead of funding the entire government.

5. Tourists


Imagine saving up to visit the nation’s capitol or the Grand Canyon. The family is packed up and ready to fly — or drive — cross the country to see the sites and have a great time.

Then the government shuts down. No worries, how can the government shut down open-air monuments? Well, apparently they can — and did.

The Grand Canyon National Park is closed. How does one shut down a giant canyon? Apparently with gates and barricades similar to those veterans crossed to see their monuments.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., refused to allow the federal government to close state parks in Wisconsin, since the state had the authority to operate the parks and provided most of the funding for them.

Mount Rushmore is also closed. Cones have been placed along the highway to keep tourists from pulling over and snapping pictures of the monument. Because it's apparently cheaper to pay people to set up cones than it is to … not do that.

Across the country, in D.C., the Lincoln Memorial is closed. Note that this monument was not closed during the 1995-96 government shutdowns. Barricades were also set up outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

The National Parks Service attempted to shut down Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. Problem is, the site is privately owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Also, NPS tried to shut down the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, which hasn't received federal funding since 1980. Oops!

The NPS is on a roll, actually, when it comes to closing down privately owned businesses.

6. Taxpayers


One thing that isn't closed during the partial shutdown: tax collection.

“The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time,” the IRS website said.

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Author:

Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner