Self-inflicted wounds

The pain caused by the government shutdown must spur compromise in Washington.

Daily Editorial Board

As the federal government shutdown staggers on, many federal employees in Minnesota and across the country are anxiously wondering when they’ll see their next paycheck.

The Star Tribune reported Oct. 2 that there are around 18,000 federally employed workers in Minnesota, “nearly half of whom could be furloughed indefinitely” due to the ongoing shutdown. Meanwhile, Congress is not showing any signs of compromise.

Though many states have avoided closure of federally aided programs through state funds, some government programs in Minnesota, like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), will run out of money by the end of October, with no state money to fall back on come November.

Government investment in science has also taken a hit during the shutdown. Springtime field research is just beginning in Antarctica, but because of the shutdown, much of that research may have to be put on hold. Proposals for research in Antarctica are planned years in advance, and with only a short window of time to do field work in such a cold climate, there is fear that this year’s entire research season will be canceled, National Public Radio reported. Add that to the limited data the Centers for Disease Control is able to collect on the flu just before its peak season, possible delays in Food and Drug Administration approval of drugs and 97 percent of NASA employees furloughed, and it’s clear the shutdown has been severely detrimental to health and science research as Congress continues to squabble over political ideology.

As students of a well-reputed research institution, we urge Minnesota lawmakers in Washington to set aside differences for the well-being of their constituents and for the future of the country. Allowing the shutdown to continue any longer is not a viable option.