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Where the government shutdown pain is showing

Economic impact of government shutdown

The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 is in its third week, with some 800,000 federal workers across the country furloughed or working without pay and thousands more contractors temporarily out of work. The shutdown began after President Donald Trump insisted he wouldn't sign any spending legislation that didn't include more than $5 billion for his long-sought border wall.

As Mr. Trump takes to the airwaves tonight and Democrats likewise respond, the shutdown's consequences for federal employees, contractors, businesses and the public are starting to take hold.

Here's a look at some of the places where the pain is showing.

"Wide and growing" impacts

Lack of key approvals from agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and data from the Commerce Department is causing a business slowdown. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business association, on Tuesday urged Mr. Trump and Congress to end the shutdown.

Consequences from the shutdown are "wide and growing," Neil L. Bradley, the group's chief policy officer, wrote in a letter Tuesday. He listed a wide range of affected programs, data and functions.

"Small businesses are unable to receive assistance from the Small Business Administration. Companies are delayed in their ability raise additional capital or complete the process of going public. The review of mergers and acquisitions is suspended. Companies ranging from manufacturers to brewers are unable to receive the approvals required by law to sell their products," he wrote. "Travelers are delayed."

"Processing of imports is hindered, and tariff exclusion requests are unprocessed. Safety inspectors are sidelined, mortgage approvals are delayed, and research is halted. National Parks are closed and trash at the parks is not being collected. Grants, contracts, and payments for goods and services already provided are delayed," the letter continued. "Federal rulemakings are halted, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors go without pay."

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the thousands of businesses with contracts tied to the federal government could lose a cumulative $200 million a day.

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Federal employees and contractors take to GoFundMe

With no end in sight, more than 700 GoFundMe accounts have so far raised roughly $50,000 for those caught without paychecks. Unlike federal employees, which traditionally have had back pay restored in previous shutdowns, contractors are left in a bigger limbo and may not get back pay.

TSA employees call in sick

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed a slight rise in TSA employees calling in sick as the shutdown rolls into its third week. TSA employees haven't yet missed a paycheck, but if the closure isn't resolved by midweek, the agency is unlikely to make payroll for the current pay period.

Some banks forgive late payment fees

For federal workers, Wells Fargo will automatically reverse monthly service, overdraft and insufficient-funds fees, following Chase and Capital One. And Bank of America is working with customers on fee refunds, waivers, repayment plans and loan modifications, Axios reported.

Food stamps could be delayed

Millions of Americans who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation's food stamp program — could have their assistance disrupted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, is one of the agencies unfunded during the shutdown. Although SNAP is automatically renewed, Congress hasn't allocated funding for it beyond January. It has appropriated $3 billion in emergency funds for SNAP distribution, but that wouldn't cover all of February's obligations.

Tax returns — and refunds — could be slow

Only 12 percent of IRS staff are working for the time being — without pay — mostly focused on security and technology. The agency isn't issuing tax refunds, updating tax forms or answering phone help lines, according to its shutdown plans. This week, the Trump administration claimed refunds would go out on time, and the IRS confirmed it will begin to process tax returns for refunds on Jan. 28. The agency will need to cope with the new tax law that took effect in 2018.

Some government actions and data releases are on hold

Those that are suspended or delayed range from tariff exemption applications and most Justice Department announcements to crop data that farmers, already stung by Mr. Trump's trade policies, need to plan the year's plantings. Employment and some other Bureau of Labor Statistics data are still being released.

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