Fact: 7,000 kids were forced out of classrooms because of the shutdown. Fact: 90% of seafood imports are going uninspected because the FDA faces furlough. Fact: 8.9 million poverty-stricken mothers and children lost access to the WIC, a.k.a. the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
So maybe, just maybe, Congress could have predicted the inevitable outrage when it was revealed on Tuesday that an exclusive Congressional-members-only gym has remained open as an "essential" service.
The order, originating directly from Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner, has continued the tax-supported maintenance and use of the swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, sauna, steam room, and flat screen TVs. Congressional members, however, will have to do without towel service. Due to what the architect of the Capital called "security reasons," the Capital has yet to release the costs of continued capital maintenance.
If there is anything positive to see from this government shutdown, it is that we have at least seen an upsurge in philanthropic urgency. The most popular of these moving stories is the billionaire couple who have pledged $10 million in order to restart seven head start programs in six states. But even this is not enough to aid the upcoming 11,000 children who are due to be cut off in the next few weeks.
Mirroring the nation's majority sentiment, the Arnold family who donated the $10 million stated that "We believe that it is especially unfair that young children from underprivileged communities and working families pay the price for the legislature's collective failures."
Seemingly frivolous expenses on Capital hill, including the members' gym (which, to add insult to injury, the congressional staffers are not allowed to use) will undoubtedly will only increase frustration from general public towards Congress as a whole.