The consequences of the partial government shutdown, which began on October 1, is already affecting many small businesses and there is more trouble ahead if federal agencies remain closed for any extended period.
The shutdown, the first since 1996, occurred because legislators were hung up on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and the House passed numerous bills that either strip the law of funding or delay key provisions of the bill, including the individual health insurance directive.
This inability to agree on a new budget has left many federal agencies with no funds, which resulted in approximately 800,000 workers being furloughed, along with extensive cutbacks in services and the immediate closures of national parks and monuments.
Because of the shutdown, the Federal Housing Administration has said its ability to process loans will be reduced, a blow to the entire economy and the 26 percent of families who rely on the loan for new home purchases. The government’s E-Verify system, which gives businesses the ability to verify if a potential hire can legally work in the US, has suspended its services during the shutdown. Also on the list of services affected by the shutdown is the Small Business Administration, which has stopped processing new loan applications.
However, these effects go far beyond simply the halls of Congress as companies all over the United States are struggling to get by during the first federal shutdown in 17 years.
The nationwide furloughs mean the small businesses like hotels, restaurants and tour guides that depend on those workers or nearby federal locations will be feeling the effects of the government shutdown. With no main attraction to showcase, these small business will likely be facing lost revenues and be forced to scale back their ability to give employees a full schedule.
Trucking Industry Faces Federal Shutdown
While many federal agencies have had their services suspended, the nation’s trucking regulatory systems will largely be unaffected.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its regulatory programs will remain operational along with the Federal Highway Administration because each are funded by the Highway Trust Fund from multi-year spending bills and therefore do not rely on the annual appropriations from Congress.
The Department of Transportation’s 2014 Plan for Appropriation Lapse states that both FMCSA and FHWA “have sufficient balances of liquidating cash to operate for a limited period during a lapse of annual appropriations.” The document also said that none of the FMCSA’s 1,102 employees or the FHWA’s 2,914 employees will be furloughed during the shutdown.
However, the DOT has said that 18,481 of its 55,468 workers will be furloughed indefinitely.