Government Shutdown Spares Military but Hurts Children and the Poor

JAISAL NOOR: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. With no end in sight, the government shutdown
has entered its third day. President Obama convened with Democratic and Republican congressional
leaders at the White House Wednesday in the highest-level effort yet to end the budget
impasse, but failed to agree on terms for a new federal budget. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have
been placed on unpaid leave, and numerous government programs have been cut. The government shutdown, however, does not
impact all departments equally, and according to our next guest, the programs slated for
closure reveal much about our nation’s priorities. Now joining us is Rania Khalek. She’s an independent
journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized. Her work has appeared at The
Nation, Extra!, Salon, Truthout, and Al Jazeera America. Thank you so much for joining us, Rania. RANIA KHALEK: Thanks for having me, Jaisal. NOOR: So, Rania, give us some examples of
what will stay open during this government shutdown and what will remain closed. KHALEK: Well, what will stay open and functioning
are probably what in my opinion are the worst aspects of the government. So, for example,
deportations will continue largely unimpeded. The same goes for–drone operators will continue
to go to work. So drone strikes will likely continue, as well as surveillance drones on
the border. The DEA will continue to function, the FBI. NSA spying programs will continue. And then when you compare that with what’s
actually being impacted the most, it’s really revealing on what our government–in the way
our government prioritizes things. For example, children, low-income children, low-income
mothers, and low-income pregnant women who depend on WIC, which is the program–the food
program for low-income mothers and children under five and infants, that program basically
stops getting federal funding. So they have to rely on state funding, which won’t last
longer than a week is what the estimate is. And then there’s also other really, really
important programs, like the CDC has been cut down tremendously and says that they won’t
be able to respond to outbreaks. Their capacity to respond will be significantly reduced.
The FDA food safety inspectors will be furloughed. So, yeah, it’s just–when you look at what’s
continuing to be funded and what’s not, it’s really interesting, because the government
says that we’ll continue to fund programs, services, and employees who are essential
to protect human health and safety, but, yeah, it doesn’t really add up when you look at
what’s actually happening. NOOR: And what can you tell us about how the
decisions were made about what would be cut and what would stay open? And you argue this
reflects our values as a nation. KHALEK: Well, so each agency, from what I
understand, was responsible for determining how to apply guidelines that were given to
them by the office of government personnel, I think it’s called. But yeah, basically the
guidelines say that, you know, the employees who will continue to go to work are those
who are basically essential to protecting the health and safety of the population as
well as property. So that’s pretty much the guideline, and it’s up to agencies to apply
that. And so it’s when–whether you’re looking at,
you know, Homeland Security or the Justice Department, I mean, even though those areas,
it’s–like, again, like I said, with DHS, its deportations are being prioritized, whereas,
you know, civil rights and civil liberties training for law enforcement is basically
being shut down right now, and as well as inspector–or as well as regulation or the
regulators for chemical plants, which is kind of important, in my opinion. And when you look at the DOD, it’s similar.
It’s–the one area, the one office in the Department of Justice that’s actually being
shut down completely, so 100 percent of employees are furloughed, is the Office of the Pardon
Attorney. Then, you know, for–but, you know, other
offices are–or it just–it seems as though the programs that are the most abusive to
civil rights and civil liberties aren’t being impeded whatsoever. And I think when you look
at, you know, how unequal it is and how disproportionate it is when it comes to what’s being funded
and what’s not, I think it definitely reflects not only what’s important to the government,
what’s important to us as a nation, but also there are certain people that we just don’t
value that much, or at least the government doesn’t value that much, and those are poor
people who depend on government assistance to, you know, feed their children. And those
are, I guess, all of us, in a sense. I mean, when it comes to the Environmental Protection
Agency, for example, almost [incompr.] almost entirely shut down right now. They make sure
our water is clean enough to drink and they monitor air quality among many other things.
And so, I mean, these are the things that we’re saying aren’t essential when compared
to deportations and drone strikes. So, yeah, I think it definitely reflects that, you know,
war and spying and surveillance and all these really abusive programs are much, much more
important than, you know, protecting the masses and providing services for the most vulnerable
in our society. NOOR: And it almost goes without saying that
members of Congress will continue to collect paychecks regardless of how long the government
stays shut down. KHALEK: Yeah, except, of course, their staffers
will not. But, yeah, they will. And that’s another thing, too, is even the
employees who are continuing to go to work, there’s no guarantee that they’ll continue
to be paid. So there are some employees who might end up working without getting paid.
And, I mean, that’s awful too. It’s affecting, like, what, 800,000 workers, 800,000 federal
workers. That’s a lot of people who I’m sure depend on their paychecks to pay their bills
and to, you know, pay their rent or their mortgage or, you know, buy their children
food, and, yeah, that’s important too. It–just it’s fascinating to me that the people who
are being affected the most have no say in what’s going on. NOOR: Rania Khalek, thank you so much for
joining us. KHALEK: Thanks for having me, Jaisal. NOOR: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

23 thoughts on “Government Shutdown Spares Military but Hurts Children and the Poor

  1. The behavior of this nation's government after the so-called shutdown is indistinguishable from the behavior of a full-blown military dictatorship. No wonder so many of the Republicans are so gleeful. They've been advocating a "guns before butter" approach to federal spending for several decades.

  2. I think there is a name for when a country that shuts down significant services while retaining a powerful military. Hmmm, starts with a P….

  3. government workers not getting paid? thats a laugh,first we still have unemployment ,2nd they always get the retro pay,the furlough days people are and have been (way before the shut gown)enduring pay cuts.

  4. This is an organised 'distraction' done periodically to allow the following: Drug Money to be moved In/Out of the US, Guns to be moved around, Drug Transit across Federal and Interstate etc. This is a complete farce, set-up by the USSA regime mainly for the reasons already mentioned above. The strange thing is ; Americans keep falling for this BS, it seems to work every time! Then if all else fails, the Gov can always bomb some 3rd world Nation that can't fight back. Wake up America……..Abe

  5. Another excellent report that should be on mass media but isn't.

    This government and its corporate partners is only interested in protecting itself and the citizenry be damned.

    "Lawmakers" didn't come to Washington for salaries. they consider it chunk change. They came to get corporate funding

  6. ahh, come on, don't you just love that preppie/dorm room talk, first thing in the morning? Sounds like she's got a mouth full of marbles going on.

  7. Good point. Ordinary Americans have sat by for 12 years watching the country's foreign wars on TV like they're "reality" shows. It has grown stale, however, and folks are looking for a new vicarious thrill. "Shutdown!- the series" appears to be how the wars are coming home to roost, now. This type of war programming is not for the sensitive or squeamish. It's playing out in YOUR city or town, now, and it might just kill you or somebody you know. For real. We are all war fatigued & vulnerable.

  8. Many people laughing on social networks: is this the democracy?
    Good thing USA can print money that is used as world currency, but for how long will people put up with this before moving currency somewhere else?
    Three things I dislike about USA democracy as it is being used (or abused now): electoral college, gerrymandering, and duopoly.

  9. Oh COME ON!what is it going to take for people to seriously research people.Look around you.your asleep.There are no sides here.they are deliberately doing this to destroy the dollar.The more money they print the less it's worth.the ignorance of people astounds me.I'm a simpleton and I've figured out more about the govt than the media.people still ignore crisis actors, still ignore the it because you don't want to know, or because your scared?Start to look around, seriously

  10. I wish I could say there were such thing as heroes in our world, but the heroes you all look to are actors, and their plot is a lot bigger than we can all imagine.The real heroes are those that seek the real truth, the whistle blowers. Thank you Abby Martin, without breaking the set I would feel so alone right now.Im a young 23 year old father with a 3 year old daughter Whom i love so much.I was worried there was no one that cared about her future, Thankyou for caring 🙂

  11. Maybe you should focus less on her manner of speech and more on the words and meaning of what she's saying. That's kind of what civilized people do.

  12. Their dream was/is to make a corporate International government, and the people of the US were socially engineered to support the cause of that group indirectly. Now that they have messed up, people are feeling the heat, and they don't care, and they shouldn't because no matter what happens this group is not affected in any way. They are always in power like kings are. Zionists will drown US.

  13. Yeah it'd really be good if she could. like, commit to a sentence? You know, like make a statement without sheepishly turning it into a question? Or whatever?

  14. please tell me that wasn't the only thing you were listening too when she was speaking, because if it was then you are one of those dumb americans, pathetic

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