Shutdown Roundup: NASA Employees to Rally in Houston, Robocalls Increase and Super Bowl Ads Impacted

NASA file photo

The partial government shutdown has almost lasted a month and negotiations are largely quiet. A judge will hear a lawsuit Tuesday on the legality of forcing federal employees to work without pay during the gap in funding.

At GovExec, we can't report on all aspects of the shutdown. Here is a roundup of a few story lines from other news outlets.

NASA employees will be rallying outside of Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday to protest the shutdown. Houston television station KPRC-TV reported that approximately 300 workers are reporting to the facility without being paid and even astronauts on the International Space Station are not being paid for their work. Read more at KPRC's site.

The Federal Communications Commission has most of its staff furloughed, including those who certify new products like smartphones and tablets. This has some worried that personal electronics firms will not spend as much on advertising for this year's Super Bowl, according to NBC News via Law360. Many firms use the Super Bowl to announce new products and as one analyst put it: "Let's say you have a first-quarter launch plan and you wanted to advertise. You wouldn't be able to run an ad during the Super Bowl." Read more at NBC News.

The shutdown is being framed by President Trump as an impasse over immigration policy, but immigrants with court cases are facing long delays and even showing up to court to find the facilities shuttered, according to the The Los Angeles Times. The cases will be delayed and rescheduled, but the backlog will increase and make it harder for both the immigrants and the judges who adjudicate the cases. The Times spoke to immigration lawyer Ashley Negrette, who said: “Luckily, my client is patient and understands that she has to ‘wait her turn,’ but these delays undeniably cause hardship for her—emotionally and financially." Some courts have only one judge working, but almost none are hearing cases. Read more at The Los Angeles Times.

If you have noticed an increase in robocalls, that is because of the shutdown furloughing many feds in charge of keeping them at bay. According to the The Washington Post, the FTC's National Do Not Call Registry is down and redirecting to a message saying "we are unable to offer this website service at this time" due to the shutdown, and the FCC and FTC regulators are largely furloughed. “It’s a neighborhood with no police on the beat,” one expert told the paper. Don't expect the problem to be solved soon, though, a former FCC commissioner said. “The problem just keeps growing. Shutting down the government is not going to help,” Jessica Rosenworcel told the paper. Read more at The Washington Post.

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