5 lingering effects of the longest government shutdown in US history

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesFurloughed federal workers and those aligned with them protest the partial government shutdown in the Hart Senate Office Building on January 23 in Washington DC.
  • The longest government shutdown in history is now over. But its effects will continue to play out.
  • On Friday, President Donald Trump said the government would reopen for three weeks. By February 15, he said, he expects a deal on border security.
  • But the 35-day shutdown affected multiple layers of the federal government, from its own employees to programs and services that were left fundless and unable to support Americans.

The government shutdown is over, as President Donald Trump on Friday announced his support for a plan to reopen the government temporarily.

But the 35-day shutdown, the longest on record, will have lingering effects. Here are five ways the shutdown will continue to impact Americans and the US government:


Millions who receive food assistance may run out of benefits earlier than usual.

Many beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, will run out of their food assistance money earlier in February thanks to the shutdown.

Because the US Department of Agriculture did not receive funding during the shutdown, the department was forced to disburse February SNAP benefits weeks in advance, meaning an estimated 15 million households could run out of assistance money before the end of the month.


Some national parks sustained extensive damage.

National Park ServiceA fallen tree in the Joshua Tree National Park.

National parks across the country suffered vandalism and increased contamination during the shutdown.

Most notably, people cut down some of the namesake trees at Joshua Tree National Park to carve new paths in parts of the park that were previously inaccessible to the public.

Because of the shutdown, there weren’t enough staff members around to stop vandals from tearing down the trees.


At least 40,000 immigration hearings were canceled due to the shutdown.

According to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearing House, at least 40,000 immigration court hearings were delayed due to the shutdown, adding to already-long backlogs that have often stalled immigration cases across the country.


Some FBI investigations have been delayed or defunded.

In a recent report by the FBI Agents Association, a number of members of the FBI said their investigations were getting cut short or delayed because of a gap in funding.

Many warned that the shutdown could hurt national security, and though it is now over, it could be hard to gauge its ultimate impact on FBI activity.


FDA, USDA inspections were delayed, causing long-lasting trouble both for businesses and consumers.

Food experts said the shutdown was taking a toll on safety inspection check ups done by the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, which led to a delay in the introduction of new products (for example, wine and beer) and the revision of agricultural products, causing millions of dollars in losses to farmers nationally.

Routine checks on low-risk food facilities had also stopped, which could cause issues for consumers.

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