Work Piles Up, Impacts Many as Government Shutdown Enters Second Week
The government shutdown is entering its second week with seeming no resolution in sight. Because of the partial shutdown, government work is piling up everywhere, including the ag sector.
Information that farmers rely on is being delayed and subsidy payouts are being postponed.
Farmers use reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service to help them price crops and livestock and decide what crops to grow and when to sell them, but now those reports are on hold.
Not only has the agency stopped putting out new reports, but all websites with past information have been taken down.
The Agriculture Department also closed its farm services offices, which means growers can't apply for loans or sign up acreages for programs, in addition to the subsidy checks that aren't going out right now.
Other random bits of work have begun to pile up as well. Litter remains on sandbars along a stretch of the Missouri River in Nebraska because a volunteer clean-up was canceled when the government docked its boats.
The Centers for Disease control has a backlog of food poisoning microbes that can't be checked because so many scientists are furloughed.
With all of these issues, it is hard to imagine that things might actually get worse, but the upcoming national default deadline has many fearing that is exactly what will happen.
House Speaker John Boehner and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew traded blame on Sunday but provided no hint of compromise. Boehner rules out House votes on a temporary spending bill or a measure to raise the nation's borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama.
Lew says Republicans' budget brinkmanship is "playing with fire" and warns of the devastating impact. He says Obama isn't backing down on his call for a debt limit bill without conditions before Oct. 17, when the threat of default will be imminent.