Threat of second closure looms

By Elsa Schmitz, Opinion Editor

The United States government reopened the morning of Oct. 17, leading to a collective sigh of relief from those who have been impacted by the closure.

However, this relief may only be temporary. According to an article issued by the Washington Post, the agreement reached during this closure allows funding for agencies through mid-January 2014, raises the $16.7 trillion debt limit and calls hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work. This agreement only accounts for these solutions up until January, and at that point this sort of closure has the potential to rear its ugly head once again.

The government closure lasted for 16 days. During this time, national parks were closed to the public, leading to an illegal but courageous break-in to the national World War II Memorial by veterans looking to pay their respects. Many vendors across the country were wary of accepting food vouchers and stamps out of fear that they may not be upheld by the government once it was back in session.

The Head Start program was forced to close many locations across different states, leaving approximately 7,000 children without services, according to the National Head Start Association. This closure left many parents struggling to find someone to watch their children while they were at work, or left some with no choice other than to stay at home until the crisis was over.

Students at Eastern Washington University may not have seen an impact from the government closure, aside from the whining of those on the Internet. But there may have been some on the other side of the spectrum who had the potential to see some hard hits by the closure.

Many agencies were dipping into spare funds near the 16-day mark of the closure, and there were many who were claiming that if the shutdown continued, they would be unable to provide services until funding of their programs resumed.

Some of these programs include the previously mentioned Head Start, food stamps and services for needy families and government departments that process applications for loans, licenses and passports.

An attempt was made to contact the EWU Financial Aid office regarding this issue. It is important for students to be aware of the possibilities of what another government shutdown may bring, and the importance of remaining informed on this subject.

Though many students may have been unaware of the impacts that the government closure caused in these past 16 days, it is important to be aware that the closure was not resolved. The threat of another closure looms in the not-too-distant future, in mid-January, and it is important to be aware of what the government officials are doing to avoid another situation such as this.