How the government shutdown will affect the DC Metro Area

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executives

The countdown continues. As of this writing (1:44pm), it seems that the debate hinges on one thing: funding for Planned Parenthood. Democrats are holding fast to continue giving Federal dollars to the organization and Republicans are holding fast to cut funding for it. A measure to keep the government running for another week, and the Pentagon until September would be vetoed by the President. Not sure I can blame him-- for what? Just to go through this all over again next week? No, for everyone's sake, they need to figure this out now.

But this was not intended to be an ideolgical posting. Whatever the hang-up is, the impact of the government shutdown will be far-reaching:

  • As of yesterday, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival parade was under threat of being cancelled because there would be no National Park Police on duty to control the crowds. "So what ?" people might say. But then you might not have thought about the kids from all over the country in the many bands selected to perform in the parade, some already on their way here, whose dreams will be crushed. But about an hour ago, it was announced that "the show must go on". The parade will be re-routed and some grandstands will have to be moved and others removed altogether, but the dreams and hopes of the bandmembers will be preserved.
  • National Parks shutdown. However, tourists can still go to and view the National Mall, and the cherry blossoms. The Washinton Monument grounds will be open, but you will not be able to enter and go to the top of it. The free admission Smithsonian museums, Natural History, American History, etc.,  will be closed, but there will be 12 other pay museums will be open.
  • Some merchants will be providing food and drink discounts starting Monday.
  • Truckers who make a living driving through this area will lose hours on the job because there will be no rush hour traffic.
  • 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed.
  • Restaurants and shops near large populations of federal offices will be adversely affected.
  • The IRS will not process tax returns filed on paper. (The upside is that audits will not be conducted either.)
  • DC DMV will not operate
  • DC trash collection will cease (the President can exempt DC since DC is treated as a federal agency, but that is not likely)
  • The Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which insures and guarantees loans for buyers, as well as rental and multi-family housing, will cease to operate. This means closings on home purchases could be delayed. Sure, private lenders could go forward, but without government endorsement, but they would be considered "not insured" until the FHA signed off on them. Like that's gonna happen! 30% of all mortgages are FHA mortgages (Source: Treas. Dept.)
  • Roads operated by the Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service such as the George Washington Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway may be closed.
  • The National Zoo will be closed.
  • Metro will continue to operate, albeit with fewer rail cars
  • The Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which insures and guarantees loans for buyers, as well as rental and multi-family housing, will cease to operate. This means closings on home purchases could be delayed. Sure, private lenders could go forward, but without government endorsement, but they would be considered "not insured" until the FHA signed off on them. Like that's gonna happen! 30% of all mortgages are FHA mortgages (Source: Treas. Dept.)
  • Military members currently stationed in a war zone (this includes my nephew who left only a few days ago) will only receive 1 week's pay INSTEAD OF TWO in their next paycheck. Those stationed elsewhere will continue to earn pay, but will not get paid until the budget is resolved. They will receive back pay. If Congress approves back pay (which isn't likely) all unemployment benefits received will have to be paid back.
  • All shuttered federal buildings will be inaccessible to everyone. Including the cleaning crews that regularly do their jobs after hours and on weekends.
  • The George Washington Parkway Classic (10-Mile and 5K run) will be postponed until May 1.
  • National Parks will be closed.

The good news (well, that's subjective):

  • It was announced yesterday that furloughed federal employees may apply for unemployment. The benefit depends on where you work, not where you live. If you work in Maryland you are eligible after 1 day and the maximum benefit is $430/week. If you work in VA, you qualify after being out of work for a week, and the max benefit is $378/week. In DC, you are also eligible after one week, and benefits top out at $359/wk.
  • The Cherry Blossom parade will still go on
  • Federal retirees will still received their paychecks
  • The IRS will continue to process electronically filed tax returns
  • Airports will still operate
  • Essential personnel such as air traffic controllers, federal law enforcement officers and prison guards will still go to work
  • Federal lunch programs will remain up and running (kids will get fed).
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue operations

Eat, drink and be Merry:

  • DC fast food chain Z Burger is offering free burgers to all federal workers
  • Union Pub is offering congressional staffers 1 cent beers on weekdays from 5-6pm.
  • At Lounge 201, martinis will be half price Tuesdays-Thursdays
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Cathy Valdiviez Baumbusch, International Real Estate Specialist REALTOR, CRS, ABR, CDPE, IRES, e-PRO Licensed in VA, MD, and DC. DIRECT: 202-630-2MOV    FAX(toll free): 866-508-5743 RE/MAX Executives, 4000 Legato Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030, (703) 449-RMAX, OR in Del Ray at 2715 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301.

Cathy is a real estate professional and proud affiliate of RE/MAX EXECUTIVES, who has lived in the DC Metro area since 1996. She currently lives in West Springfield, VA. She has been licensed since 2001 and serves clients in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Cathy's service area includes Fairfax County (with a special emphasis on Alexandria and Springfield, VA), Arlington, Falls Church, Loudoun, Prince William, Prince George's, and Montgomery Counties, and of course, Washington, DC. She specializes in short sales, first-time homebuyers, first-time home sellers, move-up buyers, and military.

Cathy is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and has an excellent track record getting short sales approved and closed. Cathy also holds the International Real Estate Specialist designation and can facilitate buying and selling real estate anywhere in the world. Cathy is a MAJOR in the Army Reserve, with a duty assignment at Ft. Dix, NJ. Cathy teaches classes on buying short sales, HUD homes, and foreclosures as well as social media marketing classes for small business through Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Program. She is also a VHDA Certified Trainer.

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