Stymied by the Vast Number of Barricades

October 11, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

barricada-1157986-mA few years back, I cut out a political cartoon that ran in our local newspaper to hang on my office wall. The cartoon humorously depicted how life had become in D.C. The cartoon ran in the spring during the Cherry Blossom festival, during which swarms of tourist descend upon D.C to see the beautiful cherry trees in full bloom. Basically the cartoon consisted of a numerous barricades, fences, barbed wire, overhead helicopters, etc. On the fence were the words “Cherry Blossoms” next to an arrow pointing to a small hole in the fence.  Although the cartoon was depicting how security-conscious D.C. had become (especially since 9/11), it also brought home to me just how many barricades there are in this town. It can be next to impossible to get from point A to point B in Washington without coming face to face with some sort of barricade.

Now, thanks to the government shutdown, we’re all coming up against similar barricades if we try to use a government website. For example, one site I visit on a daily basis is the Federal Register website to track new and proposed federal rules that impact the grants community. However, although the Federal Register has not been completely shut down, the number of listings now is miniscule. On the site in bold letters is this statement, “The federal government is shut down due to a funding lapse. Congressional materials will continue to be processed and posted to FDsys. Federal Register services will be limited to documents necessary to safeguard human life, protect property, or provide other emergency services consistent with the performance of functions and services exempted under the Antideficiency Act. The remaining collections on FDsys are not being updated and will resume after funding is restored.” Barricade number one.

Another site we rely on is the Government Accountability Office website. GAO is a vital federal government watchdog that ensures taxpayer dollars are not wasted. And yet, the site greets us in bold letters with this notice, “Please note that a lapse in appropriations has caused GAO to shut down its operations. Therefore, GAO will not be able to publish reports or otherwise update this website until GAO resumes operations. In addition, the vast majority of GAO personnel are not permitted to work. Consequently, calls or emails to agency personnel may not be returned until GAO resumes operations.” Barricade number two.

These barricades exist on site after site operated by the federal government. One of the largest barricades can be found at the Federal Audit Clearinghouse site operated by the U.S. Census Bureau. This site directs to a page that says, “Due to the lapse in government funding, sites, services, and all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice.” Therefore, auditees cannot submit their single audit reports until the shutdown ends. Major barricade!

It’s high time for Congress to end the federal government shutdown. It’s been two weeks now! People’s lives are being affected in more ways than the folks on Capitol Hill can see. It’s time we remove these barricades so that our nation can get back to work.

Let us know how you feel about the government shutdown. How are you being affected? We’d like to hear from you.



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