News coverage is ramping up about the potential effects on perishable imports caused by the government shutdown.
In Tuscon.com, the headline read “U.S. Sen. McSally visits Nogales, talks government shutdown”
The story recounted the visit of Arizona Sen. Martha McSally to Nogales and her meeting with customs agents working without pay there.
From the story:
Standing a few feet away from a 14-foot-high border wall after meeting with about 150 customs agents, the Tucson Republican told reporters that she wanted to visit with Customs and Border Protection agents to gauge their morale during the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history.
“I was looking them in the eye and doing a moral check, letting them know that I am standing with them at this time and trying to find a path forward,” McSally said. “I am really grateful that they are coming here to work.”
Meanwhile, the Miami Herald ran a story in the business section headlined “The next victims of the shutdown: Your food, flowers and toys”
The story focuses on the fact that food inspections are taking longer than usual.
From the piece:
But inspections at major ports of entry like Miami International are taking longer than usual. The inspectors who are working are doing so without paychecks — and don’t know when their next one will come.
That means the shelf-life of fresh products coming in from overseas — onions, avocados, bell peppers, flowers — may be at risk, according to Milay Rodriguez, traffic and import supervisor at Customized Brokers, a logistics company near Medley. Sixty-three percent of perishables and 89 percent of all flowers entering the U.S. pass through Miami International.
“They’re working, but they have a minimal number of inspectors,” Rodriguez said. “We’re seeing quite a bit of delays.”
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. Federal rulemakings are halted, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors go without pay.
With each passing day, the situation will only get worse.
Our broken immigration system is at the heart of the current impasse. While we are unlikely to solve all of our immigration problems at this point in time, there is a clear compromise that Republicans and Democrats can and should seize without delay. The Chamber supports a deal that combines increasing border security with protection and legal status for Dreamers and long-term beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. These are important policy objectives that would improve the near-term and long-term health of our economy while also demonstrating that it is indeed possible for policymakers to make progress on a politically fraught issue.
We urge members of Congress and the administration to expeditiously complete legislation to re-open the federal government and seize the opportunity to both improve border security and provide protection for Dreamers and long-term TPS beneficiaries.
TK: Those words have gone unheeded so far by our politicians. There will be unforeseen and unintended consequences to the government shutdown, and those will be amplified the longer it continues. Both Republicans and Democrats need to find a face-saving solution and end the pointless shutdown now.