At Day 21, U.S. Government Shutdown Ties for Longest on Record

January 11, 2019, 1:21 PM UTC

On day 21, the partial federal government shutdown is now tied for the longest on record. Unless there’s a breakthrough in negotiations—and the planned White House roundtable on “border security and safe communities” set for Friday, as the Associated Press reports, makes that sound unlikely—the impasse looks likely to continue. So do the pain and problems that result.

Friday marks the first paycheck 800,000 workers won’t see and it’s hitting workers hard. One worker facing an unsympathetic landlord told the New York Post, “I just cross my fingers and pray to God that this will be over and my life can go back.” Some are selling household items to make ends meet. Congress has indicated that it will provide back pay, but the money is needed now.

Beyond federal workers, there are many other impacts. Many consumers can’t get mortgages approved and companies cannot file the paperwork to go public and raise money. The shutdown could stall critical trade talks with China. A group of FBI agents warned that another victim could be law enforcement, a purported reason for the administration’s insistence on a longer border wall, the Washington Post further reported. Financial hardships could actually endanger security clearances.

Donald Trump has threatened a national emergency declaration and perhaps the diversion of disaster relief funds to construction of a wall that can be cut with hand tools. But any such move will likely face a legal challenge from Democrats and still won’t solve the shutdown unless Trump signs a funding bill.

The ultimate impact on the economy could be a staggering $13 billion a month, or $430 million a day, if an analysis by investment website The Motley Fool is correct.