Well, it happened. The government has shut down, meaning those hacks on the hill were unable to reach an agreement on how to actually fund federal agencies and set spending priorities. One party, let's call them the effing Republicans, is being run by infantile asshats in the House and they've decided to take the American people hostage because they don't like a law that was already democratically passed. An extremist by any other name would smell as sour.
My husband is still at work, not because he was deemed essential (heaven forbid someone working in diplomacy, not just defense, be considered to work in the interests of our national security and be exempt from this shutdown), but because some federal workers have been told that they must continue to work until the money literally runs out. When will that be exactly? Not sure. Yeah, wrap your head around that.
The silver lining in all of this mess is how the District is responding. Mayor Gray has already said that he will declare all of city services "essential," which is a brilliant and subversive way to keep our city open. But we apparently have $144 million in funds to use for these purposes, which will last only a couple of weeks. After that, who knows what happens.
And this isn't to say anything about the important services nationwide that are coming to a halt. The Women, Infants and Children program, which helps pregnant women and new moms buy healthy food is being cut off by the Department of Agriculture. Local housing authorities are not going to get additional money for housing vouchers. And we're looking at incredible revenue loss that will hit our economic growth, when we're not still stable in our post-recession recovery. The local economy around the District itself is projected to lose $200 million for EACH DAY that the government is shut down.
In the midst of all this despair, there are some glimmers of hope coming from the area's eateries. While some restaurants and bars are responding with happy hours to encourage federal employees to spend their precious dollars drinking away their sorrows, others are reaching out to appreciate the workers who are being played like pawns by those aforementioned asshats and help them save their funds.
Z burger, for instance, is pledging to give free burgers to federal employees daily during the shutdown, from 11am-1pm. If you haven't eaten here, it's the local answer to the Five Guys' craze, and, IMHO, a superior one. Even if you're not furloughed, stop by, patronize the place, and show thanks for an establishment that cares for our public servants.