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How the government shutdown is affecting Americans

What we covered here

  • We asked for your shutdown stories. Here's what you told us. (CNN hasn't been able to independently verify all of these accounts. The responses have been lightly edited for clarity. Update: Some accounts have been updated to clarify information or to remove incorrect information after CNN interviewed respondents.)
  • We're more than two weeks into the shutdown. On Sunday, President Trump said he might declare a national emergency to secure funds for a border wall. The wall has been at the center of the shutdown dispute.
5:17 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

Her husband is going to adopt her daughter, but they can't afford to have it finalized yet

Courtney Thoms writes that she and her husband both work with a federal contractor for NASA, and they are both going without pay. She says before the shutdown began, they started proceedings for her husband to adopt her daughter.

"Now that we aren’t getting paid, we can’t afford the Guardian Ad Litem the court is requesting to finalize her adoption on the 15th of this month," Thoms says.

She also asked for us to throw her an adoption/birthday party since they are 10 days apart, but that won’t be happening either."

Thoms says they are worried about how they will afford their mortgage because they traveled over the holidays to see family.

"We weren’t expecting this, or we would have saved our money," she says.  

10:24 a.m. ET, January 7, 2019

She is facing homelessness

Cynthia Letts writes:

I moved and began my new federal job one week before the shutdown. I spent most of my savings getting here and can't pay the rent without a job. I'm looking at homelessness."
5:08 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

They have little to no food in their home

Ravyn Senter writes:

Me and my husband normally use link or food stamps as income for groceries. We've normally managing for the month. Now that the government has been on this shutdown, we're struggling with the little to no food in our home since we didn't receive our daily food stamps for the month."
Staffing for the agency overseeing the federal food stamps program has been cut by 95% because of the ongoing government shutdown.
4:49 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

He can't finish his job application

Morgan Saul writes:

I am unable to further my application for employment with the United States Border Patrol. I am nearly two weeks past when my application should have been accepted."
10:24 a.m. ET, January 7, 2019

She just applied for unemployment

Jennifer P. says she and her husband are both federal workers. She just paid off her student loans, but that's left her with very little savings.

Because of the shutdown, Jennifer says she and her husband have been trying to cut costs any way they can. She says they've been staying mostly at home, mining cupboards and forgoing outings with friend to cover the bills.

"After hearing Trump’s latest comment, I decided to apply for unemployment so we can hopefully have some income in the next few weeks," she said.
"We live in a very expensive valley, so it’s not the best location to be unemployed in, and it’s hard to get temporary work here since we don’t know how long we will be furloughed for."
4:49 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

He's worried about the contractors who might not get paid when the shutdown is over

Trevor Bousu is an Air Traffic Control supervisor who works at Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center. He says he has "been proud of the work my controllers have done day in and day out without knowing when we will be paid next."

Most of us in our facility have the funds to pay our bills and support our families for a little while at least. The people I have concern for are the janitorial staff which are contracted out," Bousu writes.

Bousu says there is an "older Hispanic woman who diligently does her job of emptying garbages, vacuuming the facility and making our workplace clean."

He's concerned that the woman is unaware that she may not receive pay when the shutdown is over.

"Now I pray that is not the case, but she is just an example of hardworking people getting hurt the most."
4:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

They're worried they may lose their daycare spots

Rosalind Brooks says she is a single mother of two children who are still in daycare.

She writes:

"With the government still shutdown, no income in sight, and savings running low, I may be forced to withdraw my children from daycare."
"If I have to, they will possibly lose their spot and I won’t have any care for them in the event we are forced to return to work without pay."

Michelle V says her husband is a furloughed employee of the US Forest Service. Being without his paycheck is causing childcare worries for her family too.

"Theoretically my husband could watch our girls, but then we would lose our spot and be in a heap of trouble when the shutdown ends," she says.
4:21 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

The shutdown is holding up life-saving treatments

Sarah Doerr says her 6-year-old son has a rare, neurodegenerative disease called PKAN. She says the clinical trial for a potentially life-saving treatment is in the final stages of FDA review and approval, and that she was hoping the trial would start in early 2019.

"Now that much of the FDA is shuttered, we don’t know when the approval process will be back on track. A month or two delay could be a matter of life or death to kids with this disease," she says.

Tony says he runs a drug company with a drug licensed from the National Institutes of Health.

"We can't move forward with one of our life-saving cancer treatments because we can't sign an updated license agreement since the government is shut down," he says.
4:12 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

She says her husband should be 'essential' enough to get paid

Kimberlee Roberts, a stay-at-home mother of three children, says her husband works for Customs and Border Protection. She says he has to show up for work without getting paid, and "has been forced on overtime shifts because of short staffing."

"We are just normal people who make enough to live. Missing paychecks, however, would be catastrophic to our family. We don't appreciate being used as pawns in a political game. It may not affect Congress to keep the government closed, but it definitely affects the regular family just trying to pay our bills," Roberts writes.
If my husband is considered 'essential' enough to need to work while the government is closed, he should be 'essential' enough to pay."