Around the country, furloughed federal workers are wondering how they’re going to pay their bills while they wait for the government to reopen. Businesses that rely on tourists are taking a hit due to shuttered national parks. And scientists conducting groundbreaking research have had to put the brakes on their work.
Meanwhile, members of Congress continue to pump iron in their exclusive gym, ride on special trolleys so that they don’t have to walk a few extra feet and in some cases,protect their entire staff from the furloughs faced by other federal workers. Here’s a look at the maddeningly arbitrary nature of the government shutdown, and at what has been declared “essential” and “nonessential”:
ESSENTIAL: The gym for members of the House of Representatives.
NONESSENTIAL: Clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
ESSENTIAL: Every single member of Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) staff.
NONESSENTIAL: A Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
ESSENTIAL: The Capitol subway system.
NONESSENTIAL: Cleaning up toxic waste sites.
ESSENTIAL: Every single member of Congress.
NONESSENTIAL: The NASA employee who oversees the Mars rover mission.
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