WASHINGTON (CIRCA) — It's official. Now in Day 22, this government shutdown is the longest in U.S. history, and despite the fact it is only partial, it has cast a shadow over much more than you may think.
Unpaid Transportation Security Administration employees are calling out of work, forcing Miami International Airport to close an entire terminal. Southwest Airlines has put long-awaited plans for flights between California and Hawaii on hold. Museums are closed, portable toilets have replaced closed bathrooms along Washington National Mall, and even craft breweries have taken a hit.
"It's just a complete failure of government to do its job," said Bill Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia. "We send these people to Washington to negotiate, to get things done, and shutting down the government is just absolutely ridiculous."
The situation has left many frustrated.
"This is stupid," Barbara Shultz told WJLA in Washington while standing outside the shuttered Smithsonian National Zoo. "I don't think shutdowns work. And is this any way to tell other people in the U.S. and foreign countries America is great? We've shut down all the museums, and we've shutdown a premiere attraction. It's an abortion."
That sentiment appears to be shared across the nation. Three out of four Americans feel the shutdown is an embarrassment for the country, according to an NPR/Ipsos poll. The poll also noted majorities on both sides of the aisle said Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government while budget talks continue.
The now second-longest government shutdown lasted for 21 days between late 1995 and early 1996. In that case, the roles were reversed. The Democratic White House under former President Bill Clinton was at odds with Republicans in the House, led by the bombastic former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. That fight resulted in blowback for Gingrich and the Republicans.
It's unclear how much longer the shutdown will last, but as the Donald Trump White House and Democratic leaders in Congress continue to battle over border security funding, an end does not appear to be in sight.