On Day 13 of the partial government shutdown, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still operating. Their budgets went through the regular appropriations process. Also, there are the about 2,700 state and local health departments that do the frontline surveillance for foodborne diseases that are reported to the CDC. Those departments operate on state and local tax dollars.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration are partially shut down, but their food safety work is deemed essential under the protocols that are followed when budget authority is lost.
Since the partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22, USDA meat and poultry inspectors were on duty as usual. Food regulated by both FDA and FSIS has been recalled during the past 13 days. Imported food is still being checked at the borders.
Today, the partial shutdown becomes the fourth longest in U.S. history. Also today, Representative Nancy Pelosi will officially replace Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House and the first maneuvers by the new Democratic House majority to impact the shutdown.
The partial shutdown is the result of President Trump’s demand that Congress provide $5 billion for barriers on the U.S.-Mexican border that he says will help control illegal immigration, human trafficking, drugs, and other illegal activity. Border security funding of $1.3 billion is included in the proposed Homeland Security Department budget. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they’d go along with the $1.3 billion, but no more.