Fun Facts: The Federal Government Shut-Down of October 2013

  • Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz reads Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor during his 22-hour filibuster against ObamaCare. In response, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer is “appalled.” To a crowd of reporters he said, “Green Eggs and Ham has a moral: Don’t criticize something, don’t reject something, until you actually try it. Sam said he didn’t like green eggs and ham for a long time. And then when he finally tried it, he liked it.” Shaking his head about the book he said, “I don’t know if he read it.”
  • Big Brother kicks rocks. NSA workers were sent home.  Side note: some NSA employees were caught using surveillance tools to spy on the emails and phone calls of their spouses and exes.
  • Three days into the shutdown, Washington D.C., a woman tries to ram her car through landmark barricades. She leads police on a high-speed car chase and is shot and killed when she tries to flee on foot. She thought President Obama was stalking her. A one year-old toddler is found in the car.
  • Next day, The Washington Mall, a man salutes the Capitol Building, douses himself with gasoline and sets himself on fire. Two joggers take off their shirts and start whipping him to put out the fire. He died at a Washington Hospital. His body is so severely burned he has to be identified through DNA and dental records.
  • Families of soldiers killed while serving their country cannot get their death benefits that total $100,000.
  • 18,000 Nasa employees are out of work except 550, including two astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • The Confederate Knights of the KKK cancel a march after the Gettysburg national battlefield park is closed.
  • Despite the shutdown, members of Congress still get a paycheck.
  • Members of Congress make $172,000 a year, that’s three times the average household income.
  • White House press secretary Jay Carney has to answer his own phone.
  • President Obama is “exasperated.”
  • During the shutdown, Texas Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer chastises a U.S. Park Ranger at a World War II memorial for closing the park.
    “People have traveled with their family. How do you look at them and deny them access? I don’t get that,” said Neugebauer.
    “It’s difficult,” replied the Park Ranger.
    After another exchange, Neugebauer said, “Park service should be ashamed of themselves.”
  • The Chaplain of the U.S. Senate starts every session with a prayer. He or she is elected by a bipartisan vote. The Chaplain is also in charge of giving counseling to all elected officials. Former Navy rear admiral, and Seventh-day Adventist, Senate Chaplain, Barry C. Black said in his opening prayer, “We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride,” he went on, his baritone voice filling the room. “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.”
  • 80 Republicans sign a letter to support defunding Obama Care.
  • The government shutdown cost taxpayers 12.5 million dollars an hour. [1]
  • 800,000 federal workers are furloughed (furlough (v.):to force an employee not to come to work and often dock his or her pay accordingly.[2]).
  • The last government shutdown was in 1996, during the Clinton administration.
  • State Department will be able to operate for limited time
  • Department of Defense will continue military operations
  • Department of Education will still distribute $22bn to public schools, but staffing is expected to be severely hit
  • Department of Energy – 12,700 staff expected to be sent home, with 1,113 remaining to oversee nuclear arsenal
  • According to The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, 278 people across 18 states have gotten sick from a salmonella outbreak.
  • Department of Health and human services expected to send home more than half of staff
  • The Federal Reserve, dept. of homeland security, and justice dept. will see little or no disruption
  • US Postal Services continue as normal
  • Smithsonian institutions, museums, zoos and many national parks will close[3]
  • The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is funded.
  • The health insurance market place website, although overloaded with traffic, is open and will continue.

[1] Money for nothing: Government shutdown costs $12.5 million per hour

[2] What’s a Furlough?: TIME Explains Government Shutdown Buzzwords

[3] US begins government shutdown as budget deadline passes


This piece was originally published in 2013.

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