“There’s just simply no upside,” Minister Duncan said to the National Press Club. “The effects might not be felt immediately, but whether it’s a shutdown, whether it’s the sequester, none of these things are good for children, for schools, for families, for communities.”
Literally nothing I can do
“We need stability, we need investment, we need a functioning federal government, and the dysfunction here right now is frankly pretty staggering,” Minister Duncan said. The consequences of the shutdown worry him deeply. Duncan points at: “thousands of fewer children receiving access to Head Start programs and less money for lower-income students, students with special needs, students with military parents, and students in federal work-study programs.”
Asked what he will do now to alleviate the negative effects of the shutdown, he answered: “There is literally nothing I can do to mitigate those effects. Right now, in the immediate fear of a shutdown, we’ll try and do everything we can to help college students with grants and other things and make sure that money keeps flowing.”
Duncan almost begged Congress to “get its act together” knowing that a lack of decisiveness will compromise the lives of citizens. “Democracy works when folks get together and compromise. That’s what we need.”
No pay on your 55th birthday
The effects of the shutdown are considerable. Half of the Pentagon’s staff is sent home and at NASA no less than 97% of 18.000 staff is hit. But the U.S. government underlines that the ISS astronauts are safe.
This is all the more ironical as NASA celebrates its 55th birthday today, leading the Washington Post to tweet the following: @washingtonpost: Happy 55th birthday NASA! To celebrate, 97 percent of you get an unpaid vacation.