Shutdown Day 28

Today (1/18) marks Day 28 of the partial federal government shutdown and while 18 and 28 provide some numerical symmetry, it’s challenging to find anything positive to say about the situation between Congress and the President. The mood “Inside-the-Beltway” is shifting from resigned and frustrated to dark and worried – very worried. The latest kerfluffle between the President and Speaker Pelosi over the State of the Union address and her overseas trip hasn’t accomplished anything other than further entrenching their respective positions.

Congress has canceled the Martin Luther King Jr. recess, but it’s not clear that anything will happen next week. The next shutdown update on Friday, 1/25, may read pretty similar to today’s update.

The impacts are starting to build beyond much lighter traffic in Washington, D.C. The Washington Metro system has estimated a revenue drop of $400,000/day from a smaller number of commuters. And impacts are building beyond D.C. Some airports have seen long security lines and cities such as Ogden, Utah, with a major IRS center, are seeing increasing economic impacts.

Impacts to drinking water are starting to accumulate. Besides nobody at EPA to call with questions, nobody really knows how long the “restart” will take and how long some regulations such as perchlorate and the Long-Term Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LT-LCR) that were scheduled to be proposed in 2019 will be further delayed (noting that perchlorate has a court deadline of April 30, 2019, for the proposal that has already been extended once). Two drinking water meetings in early February, one on the Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) in Michigan and another on SDWIS Prime, are in jeopardy of being canceled soon.